|ČEZ, a. s.||2020||N/A||https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/press-release/blk-vote-bulletin-cez-jul-2020.pdf|
As a fiduciary on behalf of our clients, BIS has engaged with CEZ over the past several years on a range of governance and material sustainability topics, including climate-related disclosures.
CEZ has reduced CO2 emissions by 20% since 2016 due to electricity generation from cleaner energy sources. The company has also set a target to generate carbon neutral electricity no later than 2050 (scope 1 & 2), consistent with the European Union’s climate ambitions. In 2019, about 55% of the electricity generated by CEZ originated from nuclear power and other zero-emission sources. In order to reduce its carbon emissions, CEZ has announced plans to progressively phase out its coal-fired power plants, starting with the least efficient. Specifically, CEZ plans to decrease its current coal-fired capacity by half from 7.8 GW in 2016 to 3.9 GW by 2025 and decrease further to 2.5 GW in 2035 and ultimately to zero by 2050. In 2019, coal-fired power plants represented 45% of CEZ’s capacity.
CEZ discusses climate related challenges in a dedicated section in its 2019 annual report3 but its disclosures lack some of the key features we would expect, including TCFD-aligned reporting to further describe the resilience of the company’s business model under different energy transition scenarios, the responsibility of the Supervisory board with regards to climate-related issues, and further details on short- and medium-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets. Although CEZ has disclosed to investors that it expects the carbon intensity of its power generation to be reduced to 0.27tCO2/MWh in 2035, it remains above average in Europe (for reference, CEZ’s carbon intensity was 0.36 t CO2/MWh in 2019). The current reporting provides some insights about the company’s operational carbon emissions and management’s perspectives on the challenges of the EU climate goals, but is not aligned with the TCFD framework. Hence, these disclosures fall short of our expectations.
The company’s inadequate public disclosure is increasingly putting it at odds with its global peers regarding long-term climate adaption strategies and raises concerns about how CEZ is managing climate risk and the transition to a lower-carbon economy. We expect greater action on target-setting and a justification for company’s approach relative to its peers.
- Recall and Elect Supervisory Board Members and Members of the Audit Committee
At the time of our analysis, the names of the candidates were not disclosed, which makes it impossible for minority shareholders to make an informed decision about the election of board members.
CEZ is not an official TCFD supporter and has made no public commitment regarding the alignment of its disclosures with the recommendations of the TCFD. Despite a section in the company’s 2019 annual report dedicated to climate protection, these climate-related disclosures do not demonstrate sufficient progress towards CEZ aligning its reporting with the TCFD recommendations.
In line with our approach of holding directors accountable when a company is not effectively addressing a material issue, we voted against recalling and re-electing Supervisory Board members for lack of progress in relation to climate-risk reporting. More generally and consistent with previous years, the lack of information on the identity of the Supervisory Board members to be (re)elected ahead of the AGM is a key impediment to us supporting items 12 and 13.