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Breakingviews - Glasenberg-less Glencore is surprise green champ

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Breakingviews - Glasenberg-less Glencore is surprise green champ by Kenyans247(1): Mon 07, December, 2020 09:24am
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Glencore is getting a new green-tinged lease on life. On the same day it announced long-term Chief Executive Ivan Glasenberg’s successor, the 31 billion pound miner committed itself to net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Given it plans to get there by running down coal mines while digging up more copper and cobalt, it could become a surprise model citizen of the low-carbon future.

In one sense, Glasenberg’s replacement hardly signals a major rethink by Glencore’s board. Gary Nagle, a fellow South African, is a 20-year company veteran and actually ran the company’s coal operations. Continuity is logical given the 63-year-old Glasenberg’s intention to hang on to his 9% stake, currently worth nearly 3 billion pounds after Friday’s 3.5% share price increase.Strategically, however, explicit green commitments are a big shift. For years, Glasenberg swam unashamedly against the environmental tide, saying that Glencore would mine coal as long as emerging markets in particular needed cheap energy. With the black stuff generating $3.6 billion of EBITDA last year, nearly a third of Glencore’s total, it’s easy to see why.

Two things appear to have changed his mind. First is the dramatic fall in wind and solar power costs to levels that compete with, or undercut, coal. Second, is the hardening attitude of investors focused on environmental, social and governance concerns. Last year, Glencore and the minerals it mined emitted 376 million tonnes of the gas. Nearly 95% was from coal.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-glencore-ceo-breakingviews/breakingviews-glasenberg-less-glencore-is-surprise-green-champ-idUSKBN28E2WK

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