19 January 2022
Back in December, Market Forces drew attention to the fact that Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone’s (Adani Ports) removal from the Business Ambition for 1.5C campaign run by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) should also see it removed from the UN’s Race to Zero campaign.
This has now occurred, with Adani Ports no longer on the list of Race to Zero participants, in another setback for its ongoing attempts to greenwash its reputation. The removal must have taken place in the last four weeks, as a snapshot of the website from 23 December 2021 shows Adani Ports still listed.
According to its website, Race to Zero is “a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth”.
As we reported back in December, a spokesperson for CDP, one of the partners that runs the SBTi confirmed in an email to Market Forces that Adani Ports had joined the Business Ambition for 1.5C campaign in June 2020, but that “Adani Ports was removed from the campaign in Oct 2021 following a review of companies with close links to fossil fuel interests in Business Ambition for 1.5C and Race to Zero”. Adani Ports’ membership of Race to Zero was based on its participation in the Business Ambition for 1.5C campaign.
Adani Ports’ links to fossil fuels are many. It established the coal haulage company for the Carmichael thermal coal mine, Bowen Rail Company, in 2019 before transferring it across to another Adani Group subsidiary in 2021. It admitted in its annual report (see page 129) that this transfer was in order to “fulfil the Carbon Neutral Commitments” of the company. Adani Ports still has a direct link to the Carmichael project via its co-ownership and day-to-day operation of the North Queensland Export Terminal (NQXT, formerly Adani Abbot Point Terminal) in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, via which Carmichael coal will be exported. And despite the so-called “carbon neutral commitments” Adani Ports intends to increase the amount of coal it transports and it plans to build new coal and LNG terminals.
Due to its dogged pursuit of new coal and gas projects, including the disastrous Carmichael thermal coal project in Australia, Adani Group has had several setbacks in its attempts to paint itself as credible on climate. In addition to its removal from the Business Ambition for 1.5C campaign and Race to Zero, in 2021 Adani Ports was kicked off the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and four MSCI climate indices, due to human rights and climate concerns. The Adani Group more broadly has lost investors and bankers, its sponsorship of the London Science Museum has faced massive public controversy and boycotts and the number of companies refusing to work on Carmichael has continued to grow, hitting 107 last month.
If Adani Group wants to salvage its reputation and credibility on climate, then step one is walking away from its Carmichael coal mine.