As a fiduciary on behalf of our clients, BIS has engaged with Uniper over the past several years on a range of governance and material sustainability topics, including climate-related disclosures. In November 2017, we wrote a letter to Uniper’s Chairman of the Management board and Chairman of the Supervisory board asking the company to closely review the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework and to consider reporting in alignment with its recommendations.
Uniper has recently strengthened its commitments to address climate-related risks. The company has a clear timetable for decommissioning 80% of its coal-fired power plants in Germany by 2050 and aims to reach carbon-neutrality in its power generation business in Europe by 2035. Moreover, the company has laid out a plan for investing roughly €1.2 billion in new growth projects focused on low-carbon energy between 2020 and 2022.
Despite these new commitments, the company has made insufficient progress to date on evolving its climate-related disclosures. Uniper’s brief reference of the TCFD framework in the Annual Report 2019, which is identical to the company’s statement in the preceding Annual Report 2018, simply explains that the benefits of TCFD disclosures are still under review by the company. We do not believe that this demonstrates sufficient progress towards aligning its climate-related disclosure with the TCFD recommendations. The company’s disclosure on climate risk falls short of our expectation of large carbon emitters with a previous history of engagement with BIS on the topic.
- Approve Discharge of Supervisory Board for Fiscal 2019
In line with our approach of holding directors accountable when a company is not effectively addressing a material risk, we voted against the discharge of the Supervisory Board for lack of progress in relation to climate-risk reporting.
Our policy would have been to vote against the re-election of the members of the board committee that oversees sustainability and/or disclosure or the most senior non-executive director. However, on the back of the completion of Fortum’s takeover, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board and the independent board members all resigned and stepped down from the board in April 2020.
The only directors on the ballot this year are new independent directors and Fortum’s representatives; therefore, the most appropriate way to hold the board accountable is to vote against the discharge of the Supervisory board members for 2019.