S&P Dow Jones has announced that it will remove Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (Adani Ports) from its Sustainability Index in response to calls for its review from human rights and environmental groups. The case for review included evidence of Adani Ports’ involvement with the Carmichael thermal coal project in Australia, its business links to the Myanmar military and ecological destruction at some of its port sites in India.
Soon after the case was presented, a report by the Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and Justice For Myanmar revealed further evidence of payments made by Adani Ports to the Myanmar military owned company, which is currently sanctioned by the US and UK Governments.
Executive Director of the Australian Centre for International Justice, Ms Rawan Arraf said:
“Adani Ports’ business with a Myanmar military company is reflective of its unethical business also demonstrated via its contribution to the climate crisis, through its involvement in the proposed Adani Carmichael coal project in Australia.
“Investors everywhere should seriously consider the risk of continuing to invest in Adani Ports because of these unethical business traits.
“Adani Ports’ business with MEC - a sanctioned entity in the US and UK - means investors could be supporting a company that may be seen to be providing material support to a sanctioned entity. This is not a risk worth taking.”
Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says, “S&P’s decision gives a clear signal that doing business with the Myanmar military, which has murdered more than 700 people since the February 1 military coup, cannot be whitewashed as “sustainable”.
“This shows there are commercial consequences for Adani Ports’ and other businesses that continue to disregard human rights responsibilities by financing the Myanmar military.
“We call on S&P to now delist other businesses on the DJSI that have commercial links and sell technology to the Myanmar military, including Daiwa House Industry, Tokyo Tatemono, AviChina Industry & Technology, and Bharat Electronics Limited.”
S&P’s announcement comes amid a flood of exits from Adani Ports’ financiers, with at least eight companies either divesting from or banning future investment in Adani Ports recently due to human rights and climate related concerns (see references below).
Market Forces Campaigner Pablo Brait welcomed the move from S&P and says it's a major red flag to Adani Group’s remaining investors and bankers.
“Adani Ports and the entire Adani Group are exposing their investors and bankers to serious reputational risks through involvement with a Myanmar military owned company and the Carmichael thermal coal project. If their claims of corporate responsibility are more than greenwash, then companies like BlackRock, Barclays and JP Morgan must immediately cut ties with Adani, as many others already have.
“The removal of Adani Ports from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is a signal to the Adani Group that it will be held accountable for its destructive activities.
“If Adani is genuine about being a good corporate citizen then it must walk away from the Carmichael coal project, cut ties with Myanmar’s murderous generals and clean up the mess it has made at some of its port sites.” Mr Brait concluded.
Rawan Arraf, ACIJ: +61 (0)450 708 870
Pablo Brait, Market Forces: +61 (0)421 011 182
Investor response to Adani Ports’ controversy;
1. State Street included Adani Ports in its recent exclusion list. January 2021
2. PIMCO banned future investment in Adani Ports - March 2021
3. Deutsche Bank backed out of participating in an Adani Ports bond issue in January 2021.
4. Pension fund, Carnegie, stated in its half year report (2020) that it excludes Adani Ports on environmental grounds.
5. Pension fund SPP exclude Adani Ports for environmental damage including climate issues, January 2021.
6. Swedbank reportedly “blacklisted” Adani Ports due to links to fossil fuels.
7. Nordea told Fair Finance, “Regarding Adani Ports, we will sell that entire holding and we have already sold just over 80 percent”.
8. SEB reportedly sold off its holding in Adani Ports in March 2021.
9. DNB, joins the Swedish investors, reported to have also sold off its holding in March 2021.
10. Danske Bank set restrictions prohibiting investment in Adani Ports and Adani’s Abbot Point coal port in September 2020.
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