Ninety One, one of the biggest fund managers in South Africa, is planning to vote against Sasol’s climate report at the company’s annual general meeting on Friday.
The decision, which was posted on the website of the Principles for Responsible Investing Forum, adds to pressure on South Africa’s second-biggest producer of greenhouse gases to reconsider its approach on climate.
Old Mutual Investment Managers, which owns 4 percent of Sasol, said earlier this week it intends to vote against a number of resolutions including the climate report, citing the petrochemicals and fuel company’s poor performance on green targets.
Ninety One’s announcement came ahead of a meeting held between the fund manager and Sasol late yesterday, though details of what was discussed haven’t been made public.
“Our voting decision is not part of a collaboration with OMIG or any other asset manager,” Ninety One told Bloomberg. “There is still some uncertainty and lack of momentum around the implementation of the strategy. In particular, there is uncertainty around gas supply and a clear alternative.”
Old Mutual has said it declared its voting intentions in a bid to act as “a catalyst” for other investors to vote the same way.
A spokesperson for Sasol said Old Mutual’s comments about its climate policy are inaccurate. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment on Ninety One’s voting intentions.
M&G Plc, which owns 6.7 percent of Sasol, said it’s too early to consider rejecting the company’s climate plan, given the complexity of the issues at stake.
“While they have committed to targets, the delivery of these relies on regulation, technology and many outcomes, the delivery of which is out of Sasol’s hands,” David Knee, M&G’s chief investment officer, told Bloomberg. “As such, it is too early to have clarity on what is a highly complex matter, as well as the probability they will be able to achieve their goals.”
Coronation Asset Management, which holds shares in Sasol, declined to comment. Allan Gray said it doesn’t disclose its voting intentions ahead of AGMs.
Sasol, South Africa’s biggest company by revenue, accounts for about a fifth of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also emits other pollutants including sulfur dioxide, which can cause heart attacks and strokes.
The company has set a target of cutting emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050. — Bloomberg.