Attributable to Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment, Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility:
Siemens is a target company of the Climate Action 100 investor initiative. That initiative should now answer the question of whether it endorses Siemens’ decision to proceed with plans to facilitate the opening up of a massive new thermal coal reserve in Australia.
If an AU$59 trillion [US$41tn/£31tn] investor initiative can’t get target companies to withdraw from projects with the worst climate impacts, what is the initiative good for?
Siemens cannot be allowed to argue that the deal is material; it is estimated that it will bring in just AU$18 million in revenue. Yet the mine has the potential to do enormous damage, not just from the emissions embedded in the coal from that mine, but as the catalyst for 5-6 additional new coal mines in the same basin. The Adani project has always been the thin end of the wedge.
Siemens also risks compromising the goodwill of its renewable energy business. Why would developers of new wind farms choose to partner with a company that continues to assist the expansion of the coal industry in 2020?
Immediate talks between investors and Siemens’ board are in order. Urgently eliciting a reversal of this damaging decision is a test for the Climate Action 100 initiative. If the decision remains unchanged, investors should move to more assertive action, including voting against directors at the company’s next AGM.