Thursday 24 November: New Hope Group shareholders and Market Forces are demanding the coal miner disclose plans to wind down production in line with global climate goals.
New Hope faces a resolution backed by over 100 shareholders, calling for full disclosure in annual reporting on how the coal company’s capital expenditure and operations will be managed consistent with reaching net zero emissions globally by 2050.
New Hope Group shareholders are also concerned they are being shut out of New Hope’s annual general meeting (AGM) being held in the regional New South Wales town of Muswellbrook as the state experiences record flooding, with no way of observing or taking part in the AGM online.
It is standard practice for ASX-200 listed companies to include an audio or video webcast and New Hope provided digital access to its last two AGMs during the pandemic.
Will van de Pol, Global Asset Management Campaigner at Market Forces said:
“Many investors believe that capital should be returned to shareholders rather than wasted on new projects that will become stranded assets as the world moves to meet the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
“New Hope Group is avoiding shareholder accountability, even after complaints from globally significant investors about the company’s lack of engagement,” said Mr van de Pol.
New Hope’s 2021 annual general meeting was dubbed a farce, with over 10 per cent of investors voting against remuneration arrangements and 27 per cent against the re-election of director Todd Barlow, suggesting strong dissatisfaction within the company’s shareholder base about its management.
Market Forces analysis indicates that New Hope Group will spend nearly A$1 billion in investor capital to expand the New Acland Stage 3 project and continue to explore other coal assets in a failing market.
In its Climate and Global Energy Transition Statement, New Hope outlines the importance of a net zero carbon economy by 2050 while outlining its plans to expand coal production, which will release high amounts of carbon emissions into the atmosphere for decades.
Investors with more than US$61 trillion in assets under management have committed to helping meet the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. Yet Washington H Soul Pattinson, which owns 40 per cent of New Hope Group, has made no such commitment.
The International Energy Agency has stated ‘no new coal mines or mine extensions are required’ in order to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
“Analysts have made clear that the current high coal price fuelled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will accelerate the transition to renewables worldwide,” said Mr van de Pol.
“Despite soaring short term profits in the coal industry, over 20 per cent of investors in Whitehaven Coal last month voted in favour of a similar resolution to outline a clear plan for winding down coal production.”
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. Some of the major investors to vote in favour of the 2021 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.
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