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5 Feb 2020

Joe Miller, Financial Times

Investors criticise Siemens over Adani contract

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"Siemens chief lashes out at 'grotesque' environmental protests", 5 Feb 2020

Joe Kaeser said the €18m rail infrastructure deal, which sparked a global backlash, was “irrelevant” to the commissioning of the Carmichael mine in Queensland...

But [...] institutional and retail investors rounded on the Bavarian boss for failing to foresee the fallout.

“One thing is clear: the Adani case was a communications disaster,” said Vera Diehl, a portfolio manager at Union, which represents German co-operative banks. 

“If all environmental and reputational risks had been carefully examined, Siemens would never have signed this order,” she added, before asking: “Must a catastrophe occur before the company finally understands that coal has no future?” 

Winfried Mathes from Deka, which holds almost 9m Siemens shares on behalf of German savings banks, said the “incomprehensible” decision was “threatening to cause massive damage” to the company’s image.

Opening the meeting, Siemens chairman Jim Snabe conceded that “business must fundamentally reinvent itself” and “pay more attention to the environmental impact of investment decisions”...

In response to activists, Mr Kaeser [...] announced that the company would spend €1b on technologies to reduce its emissions in its supply chain over the next five years...