Shareholders demand clear transition for major Australian coal company 


Wednesday 26 October: Market Forces and Whitehaven Coal shareholders are calling on the major Australian coal miner to demonstrate how it will wind down its production in line with global climate goals.

More than 100 shareholders have joined Market Forces in recommending investors back a resolution at the Whitehaven Coal Annual General Meeting today to disclose how the company’s coal assets will be managed in line with reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Pablo Brait, Senior Campaigner, Market Forces said:

“Shareholders are seeing a significant inconsistency between Whitehaven’s public declarations of support for the climate goals of the Paris Agreement and its plans to spend billions developing new and expanded coal mines.”

In its 2021 Sustainability Report, Whitehaven made public its support for the Paris Agreement and noted all its customer countries are signatories to, or have energy policies aligned with the global climate goals.

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.

The International Energy Agency has stated ‘no new coal mines or mine extensions are required’ in order to meet net zero emissions by 2050.

Yet Market Forces’ analysis shows Whitehaven plans to roughly double its production this decade by spending approximately $4 billion to develop three new or expanded coal mining projects – Vickery, Winchester South, and Narrabri Stage 3.

“Even though the Russian invasion of Ukraine has contributed to a short-term boom for Whitehaven, the future is far less rosy. Any new coal mines face growing risks of becoming stranded assets,” said Mr Brait.

“It would be in the best interests of shareholders and humanity if Whitehaven takes responsibility and sets out a workable roadmap to wind down its thermal coal mining operations and return capital to shareholders.”

“Whitehaven must make clear its plans for winding down its production, rehabilitating its mine sites and supporting staff to transition to new employment.”

Investor support for similar shareholder resolutions at Whitehaven more than doubled from 2020 to 2021, with AMP Capital and other major asset managers including Fidelity International, UBS Asset Management, Allianz Global Investors, AXA Investment Managers, Aviva Investors and Legal & General Investment Management all voting in favour last year.

Market Forces is very concerned that major investors that have pledged support for global climate goals, including the world’s largest asset managers, BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, failed to vote for the 2021 resolution.

Read the shareholder resolution filed with Whitehaven Coal and supporting investor brief.

For media inquiries and interviews, contact:

Antony Balmain, +61-423-253-477, [email protected]