Adani Ports hires ESG head as global scrutiny intensify over sustainability agenda

P. Manoj | | Updated on: Nov 30, 2021
image caption

Charanjit Singh is a climate finance and clean energy domain expert

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) has created an environmental, social and governance (ESG) role within the company and has hired Charanjit Singh, a climate finance and clean energy domain expert, to head it as India’s biggest private port operator comes under intense global scrutiny over its sustainability agenda.

The port operator, owned by Asia’s richest man Gautam Adani, has set an ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, that will make it one of the first port companies globally to achieve this feat.

“Our focus is sustainable growth, and we are actively driving the ESG agenda at all levels within the organisation. We have even created a new ESG head role and hired for the position,” Karan Adani, Chief Operating Officer, APSEZ said during an analysts call.

“We continue to make progress towards our targets of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025. We have already achieved our FY22 targets on energy intensity, emission intensity and water intensity, but more action is needed. We have estimated our scope one and scope two emission for 2025 and are taking necessary steps to mitigate them with focus on electrification of port equipment such as E-ITVs, dumpers, locos and switching to 100 per cent renewable electricity,” Karan said.

For scope one emission where technology constraint limits mitigation, APSEZ is looking to offset the emission through afforestation.

“We have made commitments for 1,000 hectares of mangrove afforestation and 250 hectares of terrestrial plantation. This contract is already awarded. We may even increase the plantation area in case we see a need for the same,” he said.

“Sustainability is a key priority for us, and we are working towards incorporating it into the organisation’s culture and day to day decision making,” Karan added.

Removal from index

New York-based finance company MSCI said it will remove APSEZ from its MSCI ACWI IMI Climate Change Indexes from December 1, citing the firm’s involvement in the Carmichael mine, rail and coal export terminal in Queensland, Australia for its decision.

“MSCI’s decision appears to be playing right into the hands of forces that want to subvert the green initiatives to which the Adani Group has made massive public commitments and tarnish the reputation of one of the leading green port operators of the world,” APSEZ said in a statement.

APSEZ said it had clarified to MSCI that it never had any shareholding in the Carmichael mine, and that it had already divested its stakes in both Bowen Rail and NQXT (North Queensland Export Terminal).

“We are taken aback by the untransparent methodology MSCI has adopted, given that APSEZ was included in MSCI’s indices when it was holding these stakes and was removed from the indices after these stakes were divested. While we are disappointed with such an opaque process, we stay completely open to engaging with our investors and with MSCI to ensure complete alignment on the sustainability agenda,” APSEZ said in a statement.

Published on November 30, 2021

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