Regarding Agenda Item 3: To ratify the acts of the members of the Managing Board
The Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany requests that the acts of the members of the Managing Board not be ratified.
The Managing Board of Siemens AG has not adequately complied with its obligations as regards human rights due diligence. Moreover, the existing and announced climate protection measures do not fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“We have learned” – a dubious claim
Dr. Roland Busch and Joe Kaeser affirm in the foreword to the latest Sustainability Report that they have learned from past mistakes “such as the controversial delivery of safety systems to Adani’s Carmichael project” (Siemens Sustainability Information 2020, page 4). A new “ESG due-diligence tool” is now intended to enable early identification of environmental risks and risks that jeopardize human rights or the company’s reputation. However, Siemens has had such an ESG risk management system before. That raises the question of whether the Managing Board will now actually comply adequately with its obligations as regards human rights due diligence.
Identifying ESG risks is by no means enough to live up to the commitments to the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A more extensive change of course is required here so as to avoid being exposed to the ever-growing risks involved in fossil energy projects.
The Managing Board will no longer be directly responsible for the power plant business of the new Siemens Energy in the future. However, Siemens AG is still by far the largest shareholder in Siemens Energy and therefore still has a responsibility to reconcile Siemens Energy’s climate protection measures with the Paris Climate Goals.
Withdrawal from coal neither responsible nor uncompromising
Five years after the Paris Agreement, it was a long overdue step to have Siemens Energy formulate a plan for exiting coal-fired power plant business. Yet the announcements of a “responsible and uncompromising” exit was followed only by the stipulation that Siemens Energy would no longer participate in tenders for pure coal-fired power plants. An uncompromising approach would have been to at least withdraw from bidding processes in which Siemens has already submitted an offer. Siemens Energy is still involved in the controversial coal-fired power plant project Jawa 9 and 10 in Indonesia, for instance. Siemens Energy also intends to adhere to combined heat and power plants.
Based on scientific findings, two measures are particularly important so that the objective of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius can be achieved: OECD countries must fully phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030 at the latest, and all coal-fired powerplants should be shut down by 2040 at the latest (cf. https://climateanalytics.org/briefings/coal-phase-out/).
There has been a massive increase in the economic and political pressure on the coal industry, which means that Siemens Energy’s half-hearted withdrawal from coal is also not responsible toward its own employees. They deserve a clear future perspective beyond fossil energies, since gas business predictably harbors the same risks as coal, too.
Adhering to gas hampers expansion of renewable energies
As with the phase-out of coal, a path to phase out the fossil fuel of gas is urgently needed so that the Paris Climate Goals can be achieved. By adhering to gas projects and pointing to an unrealistically high volume of green hydrogen to justify new gas infrastructure, Siemens is blocking the urgently needed expansion of renewable energies. Large plans to expand gas, coupled with the necessary reduction in the use of gas planned throughout the EU, is a recipe for ruinous investment. One example is Israel: The government has decided to expand solar energy on a massive scale and to stop issuing new permits to build new gas-fired power plants to private enterprises. The largest private gas-fired power plant planned in Israel, Reindeer Station, to which Siemens Energy wants to supply the technology and in which Siemens is an investor, should not be implemented given that. Massive local protests continue and put a question mark over whether the project will be completed.
No ambitious climate goals
The significance of Siemens’ goal to become climate-neutral by 2030 pales in view of the fact that Siemens does not include the greenhouse gas emissions in its own supply chains or from its business travel (Scope 3). More than 10 million tons of CO2 equivalent were produced as part of Scope 3 emissions in the past fiscal year, compared with “only” 700,000 tons of CO2 equivalent at its own business establishments (Scope 1 and 2). Effective climate protection measures must therefore aim to achieve a massive reduction in Scope 3 emissions; however, so far Siemens is planning to reduce them only by a meager 20 percent by 2030 and a climate-neutral supply chain is not envisaged until 2050.