Lobby group wants energy giant AGL to come clean on emissions policy

ACCR urges ALG to cut emissions.

A lobby group that promotes corporate responsibility is urging AGL Energy to disclose its plans to cut emissions in line with Paris Agreement obligations.

The call is the latest in a series of proposals from the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) pressuring AGL to clean up its coal-fired power stations and reduce its carbon footprint. ACCR owns shares in AGL and as such its members can participate in shareholder decisions.

They will therefore present a motion at AGL’s Annual General Meeting in September, requesting disclosure of the company’s emissions reduction plans from 2020 onward.

Shareholder activists: Democracy in action

The ACCR is a member-based corporate body pushing for greater corporate accountability and democracy. Its areas of interest include climate change, human rights and gender equality.

ACCR urges ALG to cut emissions.

The ACCR uses shareholder action to urge corporates to reduce their carbon footprint. Image: ACCR

The group promotes shareholder action, creating and proposing resolutions for its members to then present at corporate meetings. ACCR owns a few shares in a number of ASX-listed companies to enable its participation in meetings.

As of 2020, ACCR shareholders want AGL to disclose strategies designed to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions in line with Paris Agreement climate goals.

Reduce carbon footprint before coal phase-out: ACCR

Meanwhile, ACCR is drawing on the ‘2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change’.

The report refers to the phasing out of coal-fired power generation no later than 2030 in OECD countries, including Australia.

Earlier this year, ACCR made other climate-related requests designed to reduce AGL’s climate footprint and cut emissions. These included:

  • Closure dates for AGL’s three coal-fired plants: Liddell, Bayswater and Loy Yang.
  • The impact on public health of coal plants’ non-carbon pollution.
  • How AGL’s industry groups lobby on climate and energy policy.

ACCR lobbies other Australia companies to cut emissions

Shareholders have also requested a further disclosure before AGL’s AGM takes place on September 19. This relates to the cost of installing technology to control pollution in its coal-fired plants.

Furthermore, the ACCR says modern technology is needed to greatly reduce polluting emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

In June this year, the ACCR’s Dan Gocher told The Guardian ACCR was meeting up to 20 large companies ahead of this year’s AGM season. These include Coles, Woolworths and Qantas.

It follows a series of successful climate-related challenges by shareholder activists in 2018. Well-known targets included Telstra, Tabcorp and Westpac that were urged to cut emissions.

Householders are also making their own views clear on pollution and the environment with more than two million solar installations now gracing Australian rooftops. Solar batteries like the Tesla Powerwall 2 are also helping households and businesses reap the benefits of renewable energy.