Thursday, 23 November: Shareholders of New Hope Group are appalled at being shut out of the coal company’s annual general meeting (AGM) and being prevented from asking about how the miner will wind down production in line with global climate goals.
More than 120 New Hope shareholders have joined with Market Forces, calling for full disclosure in annual reporting on how the company’s coal mines will be managed in line with reaching net zero emissions globally by 2050.
New Hope Group shareholders have limited opportunity to ask questions at the New Hope AGM being held in the regional New South Wales town of Muswellbrook and are only allowed to observe the meeting through a webcast.
Michelle Surowiec, Campaigner at Market Forces said:
“New Hope has long avoided accountability to shareholders and major investors. Shareholders are outraged that they are prevented from attending and asking the miner critical questions about its transition plans away from coal.”
“Shareholders are horrified that New Hope is expanding dirty coal mines, flying in the face of global climate goals as Australians experience spiralling climate disasters including bushfires and heatwaves.
New Hope Group plans to ramp up coal production, despite the International Energy Agency (IEA) reaffirming this year that there can be no new coal mines in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Fossil fuel production will peak by 2030 according to the IEA.
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report also highlighted the need for coal supply to urgently and dramatically decline.
New Hope’s expansion strategy is being undermined by government policies in its core markets. Japan, Taiwan and Australia – which made up 96 per cent of FY23 revenue – have legislated commitments to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Japan supplied 65 per cent of New Hope’s revenue in 2023 and is planning to close around 100 of its 140 coal-fired power plants by 2030 and has cancelled plans for any new coal power stations.
Australia supplied 9 per cent of New Hope’s revenue this year and many coal fired power plants are retiring early as cheaper renewable energy makes coal unprofitable. Renewable energy capacity is skyrocketing across Asia forcing accelerated closure of coal power plants.
“New Hope’s rosy outlook for thermal coal demand hasn’t changed in nearly 10 years, yet its main customer countries have legislated policies around rapidly decreasing their use of coal-fired power.”
“New Hope needs to demonstrate to investors how its plans are aligned with global climate goals and ensure that investor capital is not wasted on further coal expansion.”
The shareholder resolution and supporting statement filed with New Hope Group can be found here.
Note to editors: Investor support for similar shareholder resolutions at New Hope Group more than doubled from 2020 to 2021 and saw support increasing by 50 per cent in 2022. Major investors to vote in favour of the 2021 and 2022 resolution included: AllianceBernstein, Allianz Global Investors, Invesco Capital Management, Lazard Asset Management, Legal & General Investment Management, New York City Pension Funds, OnePath, and UBS Asset Management.
In 2022, a joint Market Forces’ shareholder resolution received over 12 per cent support from investors in the company, an increase in support over the previous two years.
New Hope’s 2021 AGM was dubbed a farce, with over 10 per cent of investors voting against remuneration arrangements and 27 per cent voted against the re-election of director Todd Barlow, indicating strong dissatisfaction from shareholders about the company’s management.
New Hope has since decided to shift the company’s AGM from Brisbane and hold its AGMs in the regional town of Muswellbrook NSW.