Sasol AGM cancelled after erupting into chaos

Protestors from a South African-based climate activist group have disrupted Sasol’s annual general meeting (AGM) in light of the company’s controversial climate report.

The group, XR South Africa, forms part of Extinction Rebellion – a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement.

The movement uses “non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency”.

The Sasol chair reportedly asked the protestors to vacate the building so that they could continue with the meeting.

However, protestors continued to shout over Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler’s address, making it impossible for him to address attendees.

Sasol initially adjourned its AGM for 20 minutes with protestors shouting, “We want to breathe, Sasol stinks”.

Soon afterwards, Sasol cancelled its AGM as it descended into chaos with protestors refusing to back down.

This disruption comes after several large companies publicly stated that they would oppose Sasol’s climate action plan, which was due to be presented at the AGM.

Earlier in November, Old Mutual Investment Managers said it plans to vote against a number of resolutions at the AGM because of Sasol’s poor performance on climate targets.

Old Mutual Investment Managers urged fellow investors to do the same, saying Sasol’s “commitment to achieving stated targets with respect to climate is regressing.” 

Sasol is South Africa’s biggest company by revenue and accounts for about a fifth of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The company also emits a slew of other pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, which can cause heart attacks and strokes.

It has set a target of cutting emissions by 30% by 2030 and reaching so-called net zero by 2050.

“We are hopeful that this pre-declaration of our voting intentions, both to our peers, clients and to the company itself, will go some way to catalyzing positive action,” Nicole Martens, head of stewardship at Old Mutual Investment Group, wrote in a letter to fellow Sasol investors. 

Ninety One, South Africa’s biggest privately owned fund manager, has also announced that it would vote against Sasol’s climate report at the company’s AGM, Bloomberg reported.

The decision was made because there is not enough certainty Sasol will be able to secure the natural gas it needs to replace the use of some of the coal it burns at its Secunda plant to meet its 2030 climate targets, explained Nazmeera Moola, Ninety One’s chief sustainability officer.

If certainty is provided by next year, Ninety One will endorse the climate report, she said.

Sasol AGM disrupted

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