Re Agenda item 2: To ratify the acts of the members of the Executive Board
The Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany requests that the acts of the members of the Executive Board not be ratified.
The climate protection measures announced by the Executive Board of Siemens Energy AG do not live up to the Paris Agreement. A concrete roadmap for the company to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions in line with the objective of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is urgently needed. A swift reduction in the CO2emissions produced from the use of Siemens Energy products (Scope 3 emissions) is vital for that.
Withdrawal from coal neither responsible nor uncompromising
So far there has not been a “responsible and uncompromising” exit from coal as announced by Chairman of the Supervisory Board Joe Kaeser. The Executive Board merely pledges that Siemens Energy will no longer participate in tenders for pure coal-fired powerplants. 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, OECD countries should fully phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030 at the latest, and all coal-fired power plants should be shut down by 2040 at the latest, to enable the objective of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to be achieved. 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.
Adhering to gas harbors growing risks
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 Energy is blocking the urgently needed expansion of renewable energies. Siemens Energy is also taking a growing risk of its own, since 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. Israel: New government plans and protests obstruct gas-fired power plant
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.
Mozambique: Gas turbines for LNG project in a conflict zone
Siemens Energy is to supply gas turbines for an LNG project in Mozambique planned by the French oil company Total. The project is being set up in the Province of Cabo Delgado, where there have been attacks on the civilian population by militant groups close to the Islamic State (IS) since 2017. The number of murdered persons is estimated at over 2,500, and there have been kidnappings and public beheadings. Total has now felt compelled to withdraw employees from the project, since attacks are being carried out closer and closer to the construction site. As it is, the region cannot expect any sustainable development from the project. The local population, which lives from fishing, will lose access to the coast, whose biodiversity is also at acute risk.
Re Agenda item 3: To ratify the acts of the members of the Supervisory Board
The Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany requests that the acts of the members of the Supervisory Board not be ratified.
The Supervisory Board of Siemens Energy AG does not comply adequately with its responsibility to direct the Executive Board to discharge its obligations as regards environmental and human rights due diligence and to control that the Executive Board discharges them effectively.
Western Sahara: Storebrand turns its back on Siemens Energy
Wind turbines from Siemens Gamesa are located in the part of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco. International courts have repeatedly made it clear that Western Sahara is not part of the territory of Morocco and that the occupation is in contravention of international law. Any projects relating to the territory of Western Sahara require the prior approval of the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people. Siemens Gamesa has not obtained that permission to date, but instead has deepened its business relationship with Morocco even further. At the beginning of September 2020, the company confirmed the contract for the 300-MW Boujdour wind farm, which is to be erected in Western Sahara without the approval of the Sahrawi. Siemens Gamesa denotes the wind farm as being located “in the South of Morocco,” which is in contradiction to the UN’s assessment.
So far, neither Siemens nor Siemens Energy have effectively exerted their influence on Siemens Gamesa, despite the fact that the problems have been known for years. Now Siemens Energy must also bear the consequences: Norway’s largest private asset manager Storebrand has excluded not only Siemens Gamesa, but also Siemens Energy from its own portfolio explicitly for contributing to violations of international law in Western Sahara. Before taking that step, Storebrand had – like us to no avail –demanded comprehensive human rights due diligence of the projects and their business partners in Western Sahara.
Wind farms that do not respect international law and also supply 95 percent of the energy for an equally illegal phosphate mine must not be a business model of Siemens Energy. If Siemens Gamesa and Siemens Energy continue to ignore the situation in Western Sahara, which is now also deteriorating politically (there has been war between Morocco and the Polisario Front since November 13), and its own obligations as regards human rights due diligence, the name of Siemens Energy will probably soon end up on further exclusion lists of sustainability-focused investors. It was for good reason that 19 members of the European Parliament warned Siemens last November of “the heavy legal and moral risks” of doing business in Western Sahara.
Canada: Hydropower for fracking gas, at the expense of indigenous rights
Siemens Energy is also involved in the international construction of hydropower plants, including together with Voith GmbH as part of the joint venture Voith Hydro. There are regularly serious human rights violations and environmental crimes in this business segment. One example is the Site C hydropower project on the Peace River in British Colombia, Canada. Voith Hydro has just supplied the project with turbines, generators and other equipment for the equivalent of more than €300 million.
There were conflicts even before the construction work commenced: The dam is located on the territory of indigenous peoples whose land rights were recognized in a treaty with the Canadian state in 1899. In the view of numerous indigenous organizations, the vested rights of the indigenous peoples are again being violated by construction of Site C.
Construction of Site C is a disaster for the affected indigenous peoples; their sacred burial grounds will be flooded and the migration routes of salmon to their spawning grounds will be blocked –factors of huge importance to the indigenous peoples on the western coast of Canada.
The project is also not about generating “green electricity”. Site C is being built not to cater for the projected energy needs of British Colombia’s population, but for those of the natural gas industry. The electricity is to be used in plants to liquefy natural gas so that it can be transported. Most natural gas in British Columbia is produced using the controversial method of fracking. This method involves pumping chemicals into deep rock layers so as to dissolve hydrocarbon compounds and extract oil and gas. Geologists warn that fracking may cause earthquakes –a common threat in the western part of the North American continent. They could have disastrous effects on a damlike Site C.