Towards an IUCN-Rio Tinto Relationship

IUCN and Rio Tinto, a leading global mining group, have signed a letter of intent. Over the coming months and through a multi-stakeholder approach, they will develop a work plan for working together in the future.


Rio Tinto is a leading global mining group involved in every stage of the mining business. Rio Tinto activities span the world, but are concentrated in Australia and North America. In 2004, Rio Tinto made a public commitment to biodiversity conservation and set a goal of having a “net positive impact” on biodiversity. IUCN views the potential of engagement with Rio Tinto as an enormous opportunity, especially with regards to: the verification of their “net positive impact” pledge; environmental economics and ecosystem services markets; protected areas and the mining sector; and Rio Tinto’s water policies. Rio Tinto recognizes IUCNs global reach and international membership, as well as its access to worldwide biodiversity expertise and convening power, as opportunities to collaborate with IUCN to improve its ecological footprint.

In line with the Operational Guidelines for Private Sector Engagement, the Business and Biodiversity Programme finalized an extensive due diligence process in 2008. This due diligence included interviews with 27 stakeholders/IUCN members and staff. The results of the due diligence and follow up discussions indicated that both sides had a continuing interest in a long term relationship. To develop a strong relationship work plan, with input from a key group of stakeholders, it has been decided to take a multi-stakeholder group on a site visit to one of Rio Tinto’s active mine sites. Following the site visit, stakeholders will be engaged in a facilitated discussion of issues seen, raised, and discussed in the field. The site visit will include at least one example of a Rio Tinto rehabilitated site. The outcomes expected from this site visit include: stakeholder engagement; stakeholder buy-in; relationship concept agreement; issues discussion and debate; and consensus on the process forward towards a relationship agreement. This phase is covered by a Letter of Intent between IUCN and Rio Tinto that initially covers the period of March through July, 2009. However, prior to any formal relationship agreement being signed, both IUCN and Rio Tinto are committed to a continuation of on-going due diligence efforts.

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