Adani Ports removed from corporate climate campaign due to fossil fuel links

21 December 2021

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (Adani Ports) has once again had its greenwashing attempts thwarted due to its links to the Carmichael thermal coal mine and other fossil fuel projects, this time by being removed from the Business Ambition for 1.5C campaign run by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).

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”.

A check of the current spreadsheet listing all the companies that have joined SBTi shows that Adani Ports is not included in the Business Ambition for 1.5C category. However, an old list from October 2021, accessed via the wayback machine, shows at that time, Adani Ports was part of that campaign.

A screenshot of the SBTi Adani Ports listing from October 2021 shows it was part of Business Ambition for 1.5C. This was subsequently removed due to Adani Ports’ links to fossil fuels.

This rejection now puts Adani Ports’ membership of the UN’s Race to Zero campaign under question, as its membership of that campaign is dependent on its Business Ambition for 1.5C status. At the time of publication, Adani Ports remains listed on the Race to Zero website under the Business Ambition for 1.5C category.

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 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, 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 this month.

If Adani Group wants to salvage its reputation and credibility on climate, then step one is walking away from its Carmichael coal mine.