Regarding Agenda Item 3: To ratify the acts of the members of the Managing Board
Ratification of the acts of the members of the Managing Board shall be denied.
The Managing Board of Siemens AG is not sufficiently fulfilling its responsibility with regard to developing more effective climate protection measures. Measures to date are not sufficient to make a contribution towards reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement or the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to which Siemens AG is committed.
Australia: Participation in the Adani Mine contradicts previous climate protection promises
The decision to supply rail signaling technology for the planned Adani coal mine in Australia is an example of the lack of awareness for the problems associated with participating in climate damaging projects. If Siemens took climate protection seriously, the Group would not participate in a project that could release 700 million tons of CO₂ per year. This goes against all of Siemens’ other contributions towards climate protection.
Siemens states that the indigenous Wangan and Jagalingou people, who are affected by the mine, have approved the project. But they have never given their free, prior, or informed agreement; rather, the Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council also took legal action against Adani and is resisting the destruction of their own country.
Indonesia: Participation in and funding of the Jawa 9 and 10 coal-fired power plant project
Siemens is collaborating with Doosan Heavy Industries from Korea, which is planning the 2,000 MW Jawa 9 and 10 coal-fired power plant project in Indonesia. Siemens Bank is to ensure the funding. The Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) estimates that in 2020 construction of new renewable energies in Indonesia could already be less expensive than building new coal-fired power plants and that by 2027 it could be cheaper to build renewable energy power plants than to operate existing coalfired power plants. Siemens, on the other hand, is binding Indonesia to coal-fired power plants to well beyond 2045, while the global coal phase-out has to be completed by 2040 to reach global climate objectives.
Climate-damaging business model
If all companies had the current greenhouse gas emissions of Siemens, the climate would rise by 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. Admittedly, Siemens wants to be climate neutral by 2030 with regard to its own businesses, but 92 percent of Siemens’ greenhouse gas emissions arise in the supply chain (Scope 3). According to Siemens, this is currently 16 million tons, and their own companies are responsible for “just” 1.3 million tons of greenhouse gases. There are no clear targets for the supply chain and – even more important – no specific measures to ensure further emission reductions. But the supply chain is important if Siemens really wants to contribute towards climate protection.
Instead, with Gas and Power, Siemens creates economic incentives for the energy industry to continue backing climate-damaging energy rather than renewables. The new Siemens Energy will also continue with this climate-damaging business model and will not be able to sell itself as sustainable simply through the inclusion of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE).
Western Sahara: Wind power from Siemens enables illegal looting of raw materials
Wind turbines from Siemens Gamesa are installed in the part of Western Sahara that is occupiedby Morocco. International courts have time and time again stated that this occupation is unlawful. All projects concerning the Western Sahara region need prior consent from the recognized representatives of the Sahrawi people. To date, Siemens Gamesa has not obtained this consent.
Instead, Siemens Gamesa has signed a further maintenance agreement with the Moroccan government through to 2033. Neither Siemens nor SGRE have clearly explained why they are not respecting the Sahrawi people’s democratic rights of home rule. Morocco itself is not interested in such consultations taking place, as the illegal exploitation of the valuable resources of Western Sahara will be even more profitable as a result of the wind turbines from Siemens. As opposed to Siemens’ assumptions, electricity generation will have no long-term benefits for the Sahrawi. According to Moroccan state-run company OCP, which illegally operates a phosphate mine in the occupied territory, 95 percent of the required energy comes from the Siemens Gamesa wind turbines.
The pension funds of the Norwegian and Swedish governments have concluded that OCP is breaching international law by exporting these non-renewable raw materials. The value of three shiploads of phosphate corresponds roughly to the amount of humanitarian aid given to the Sahrawi refugees. With its wind turbines, Siemens Gamesa contributes directly to this looting and the continuing occupation. The Siemens Managing Board has a clear responsibility regarding the activities of Siemens Gamesa, since Siemens AG is the majority shareholder.
Regarding Agenda Item 4: To ratify the acts of the Supervisory Board
Ratification of the acts of the members of the Supervisory Board shall be denied.
The Supervisory Board of Siemens AG has not adequately fulfilled its responsibility to instruct and control the Managing Board regarding compliance with human rights due diligence. Disregard for the UN standards with regard to human rights due diligence Siemens is still not meeting the minimum standards of the United Nations with regard to human rights due diligence. Siemens has not provided sufficient evidence as to how and whether it identifies, assesses, and minimizes risks to human rights in its own supply chain.
This is a disgraceful judgment of the new program to respect human rights, but it is the result of a current study by the Business & Human Rights Resource Center and the ZHAW School of Management and Law. Siemens does not completely fulfill the requirements of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) with regard to corporate conduct. The results of the study are summarized here: https://www.business-humanrights.org/de/kurzbewertungdeutscher-unternehmen
China: Key company in government surveillance of Uyghurs is a partner of Siemens
Siemens has extended business relationships with Xinjiang in Northwest China, of which themost concerning is the cooperation agreement with China Electronics Technology Group (CETC). CETC has developed a surveillance app and database that is used for extensive surveillance of Muslims living in Xinjiang, especially Uyghurs. Based on data collected with the app, people have been sent to camps. Siemens also sells technology and components to companies throughout Xinjiang. These customers include companies that operate steelworks, solar plants, and coal gasification plants. At least 1.5 million people, especially members of the Muslim Uyghurs minority, are held in reeducation camps in Xinjiang. Increasingly, factories are built near these camps in which the detainees are forced to work for low wages. This gives the State Security absolute control over Muslim nationalities.
Colombia: Siemens still responsible for the consequences of the dam disaster
Siemens supplied transformers, switchgear, and other electrical equipment for the controversial Ituango Dam hydroelectric power plant in Colombia. For many years, it has been known that critics of the dam have been threatened and even murdered. For example, in 2018, three members of Movimiento Ríos Vivos, who were critical of the Ituango Dam, and three of their family members were murdered. Since the start of the project it has been obvious that licenses were granted with no consideration of nature conservation regions and with disregard of the rights of the indigenous communities to prior, free, and informed consultation – some of these licenses were only granted subsequently.
In 2018, a blockage in a tunnel caused landslides and flooding. Hundreds of families lost all their belongings. It is still not clear how the victims of the disaster will be compensated. Because there is fear of another dam failure, many of the tens of thousands of people who were evacuated back then have still not returned to their homes.
According to Siemens, the company would “talk with other participants to initiate joint measures for people impacted by the project” only if work on the dam is continued. However, human rights due diligence, especially carrying out effective countermeasures to rule out further breaches of human rights, applies regardless whether work is currently being carried out on a dam or not.
Ethiopia: Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant fuels conflict with regard to water supply on the Nile
Siemens has a 35 percent shareholding in Voith Hydro and is therefore continuously involved in various extremely conflict-ridden dam projects. On January 10, 2019, Voith Hydro Shanghai, a subsidiary of Voith Hydro, signed an agreement with the Ethiopian government to deliver six turbines to the 6,450 megawatt Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) hydroelectric power plant that is being built on the Blue Nile. The project is highly controversial because it has led to serious diplomatic tensions between Egypt and Sudan on the one hand and Ethiopia on the other hand. The downstream countries Sudan and Egypt fear that when the planned storage reservoir is filled, this will put water supply from the Nile at risk.
To date, negotiations have produced no results and experts are warning that there is a growing risk of war in the region. On October 27, 2019, the Ethiopian public prosecution department brought charges for corruption against 50 officers and managers (some of whom are high-ranking) from the semigovernmental METEC consortium, which is responsible for the project. The entire GERD project threatens peace in the region and obviously undermines the rule of law in Ethiopia.