Adani companies booted from UN CO2 targets initiative
Adani Green Energy, Adani Transmission and Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone have been removed from the UN-backed Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
Two other Adani owned companies, Ambuja Cement and ACC Limited, remain listed by the initiative but will be “closely monitored.”
The three Adani companies will be removed from the SBTi website in accordance with the SBTi’s now updated Fossil Fuels Policy.
The decision comes in response to a formal request from environmental groups Ekō (formerly SumOfUs) and Market Forces.
The Adani Group - the world’s largest private coal operator - has been under siege since allegations of fraud, corruption, stock manipulation and money laundering were raised by short-sellers earlier this year.
Further investigations have revealed a vast network of shell companies involved in opaque financial transactions across the group. These allegations come on top of Adani's record of climate and environmental destruction.
Filings with the State Bank of India showed that shares from Adani Green Energy, Adani Transmission, and Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone were used as collateral in a credit facility of $300 million for Adani’s highly controversial Carmichael coal mine project in Australia.
This has led to investors such as pension funds KLP and PFA selling down Adani green holdings in light of permeability between the group’s coal and clean energy business.
Adani has hinged its comeback on its ability to place privately issued bonds, particularly via its green energy businesses.
According to Ekō, the conglomerate touts its investment plans in clean energy as "a smokescreen" for its far larger expansion plans in coal, and participation in initiatives such as SBTi help legitimize the group’s green credentials. Ekō is calling on major bondholders TIAA, abrdn and PIMCO to deny debt to Adani in upcoming capital raisings.
Will van de Pol, Acting Executive Director, Market Forces, says: “It’s critical that companies are not allowed to greenwash climate-wrecking fossil fuel expansion plans through initiatives like SBTi.
Adani’s practice of shuffling money around the group to fund projects like the disastrous Carmichael coal mine is a long-held concern exacerbated by explosive allegations that have rocked the company and its investors.
The Science Based Targets Initiative is a provider of independent assessment and validation of corporate C02 reduction targets.
The decision is a particular blow for Adani Green Energy which posts its quarterly results today and, according to reports last week, is preparing to raise up to $800m in new debt in the coming months.
This would be the biggest fund raising by the Adani Group since its value was decimated by shortsellers earlier this year.
According to Ekō, the Group’s comeback rests strongly on the gamble that Adani Green Energy is the most salvageable Adani brand to international investors - an assumption now called into question by its delisting from the SBTi.
Nick Haines, campaign manager at Ekō and member of the Toxic Bonds network, says: “Adani’s comeback relies on persuading investors that the eco performance of subsidiaries like Adani Green Energy outweighs the wider group’s extensive and growing record of scandals."
He stressed that "inclusion in schemes like the SBTi help bolster that claim, when in reality the evidence shows that with Adani all roads lead back to coal. We commend SBTi for taking this swift and decisive action and hope investors approached to take part in Adani’s upcoming bond issuances take note of this decision and deny debt to all Adani Group companies.”