The letter was sent to 51 of Adani’s investors, including abrdn, Amundi, Allianz/PIMCO, Apollo, AXA, Blackrock, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Doubleline Capital, JP Morgan, Jupiter, Invesco, Metlife, Natixis, Prudential, Royal Bank of Canada, TIAA/Nuveen, UBS.
This letter came shortly after the publication of Hindenburg Research’s explosive report, which alleged “brazen accounting fraud, stock manipulation and money laundering” across the Adani Group. Adani has been continuously exposed for blatantly expanding coal, fuelling climate devastation and committing egregious human rights violations. Now, the explosive findings published by Hindenburg Research on 25 January revealing “one of the largest corporate frauds in history” undermines any confidence investors could have that proceeds from Adani’s planned green issues this year would be adequately ringfenced. Indeed, the Adani Group’s flagrant disregard for even the most basic standards of good corporate governance and transparency should leave any investor deeply concerned.
Adani’s coal expansion is being increasingly funded by global bond investors, with Adani now the largest Indian issuer of foreign denominated bonds with more than $8bn USD/EUR bonds presently outstanding. This leaves bond investors answerable to what due diligence was undertaken into the Adani Group and whether they plan to participate in future debt issues, as the company moves to raise over $10bn from capital markets this year.
In recent years, Adani has been keen to portray itself as the green energy champion of India by announcing investment of $70 billion in green projects. Generally sidestepped in the investor presentations about its green ambitions is the fact that it is investing far more in new fossil fuel projects. To fund these project Adani has issued more than $1.25 billion in green bonds in the global market in the last 3 years.
We decided to share a video with Adani’s investors to remind them that they can no longer keep sticking their heads in the sand.
The #StopAdani movement, frontline Indigenous communities, and environmental and human rights advocates have been warning about Adani’s dodgy corporate behaviour for years, and have been calling on financial institutions to steer clear of Adani due to their coal expansion, and violation of human rights.
Investors who responded
Responses have been received from Deutsche Bank, AXA IM and Jupiter Fund Management Plc. See the full response below.
Please understand that we cannot comment on individual clients or potential clients. With this in mind we have transparent guidelines for our engagement with corporates worldwide. We have disclosed the carbon footprint and have started publishing target pathways for the most emission intense sectors. We have also strict human rights and social due diligence processes. We are happy to discuss this further with you. But please understand that we are not allowed to do this on an entity level.
I’m afraid we don’t comment publicly on individual issuers. We are of course fully aware of of the issues you raise below.
AXA IM has a strong Climate Risk which is reviewed annually and applies in principle to all portfolios under AXA IM’s management as indicated in the document available online: https://www.axa-im.com/sites/corporate/files/2022-02/20220225-AXA-IM-Climate-Risks-Policy.pdf. While we do not comment on individual company, based on Urgewald 2022 GCEL dataset, A large number of entities linked to Adani Group would be captured by this policy. The holdings previously mentioned in your email might be outdated and we may hold a residual exposure associated to Green and Renewable Energy, in line with our Policy.
Furthermore, over 60,000 people have called on banks and investors like Blackrock, TIAA, PIMCO and abrdn to drop Adani. The group’s devastating coal expansion has only been made possible because of trillions in financing from the world’s most prestigious financial institutions. It will only be stopped once these investors pull out.
As bank lending for coal has tightened, the bond market remains a safe haven for fossil fuel companies to fund expansion. Dirty energy companies are using the corporate bond market as the back door to secure large amounts of cash for expansion projects. This has so far received too little scrutiny.
– Nick Haines, SumofUs.