Sasol will hold its AGM today and will face some tough questions on its environmental stance from various NGOs.
A statement from the petrochemical company’s opponents said issues raised would include pollution, criminal charges and the push for gas and climate targets.
There will be a protest march of “fenceline communities”, those living close to Sasol facilities, to the company headquarters in Sandton. A list of demands will be handed over at midday, amid allegations of harm to communities.
Sasol will hold a number of votes at its AGM, including a non-binding resolution on its climate change approach. The company has said it is seeking shareholder support for its climate change ambition.
Just Share published a briefing last week on Sasol’s climate change plans. The NGO called for more detail to determine whether the company could actually address the financial risks of climate change.
A Just Share analyst, Ayabulela Quzu, said the company’s reports reveal a “lack of meaningful progress in addressing its significant climate-related risks. Sasol’s commitments remain too vague, without sufficient measurable targets and timelines.”
A Mozambique NGO is taking the opportunity to criticise Sasol’s operations at Pande and Temane. Anabela Lemos, from Justiça Ambiental (JA!), said communities around the gas fields had gone deeper into poverty during the company’s time in Mozambique.
Lemos went on to criticise the deployment of South African forces in northern Mozambique. They are attempting to tackle a terrorist insurgency.
More pointed criticism of Sasol’s gas plans came from groundWork and Friends of the Earth South Africa. These NGOs said the move into gas as a transition fuel locks in emissions and crowds out renewables.
“Sasol’s plans for decarbonisation continue to be insufficient, and relies on false solutions such as carbon capture and storage (CCS),” Avena Jacklin from groundWork said.
The activist also raised concerns about hydrogen plans. These are “too vague to illustrate benefits to South Africa and local communities”.
Sasol has been charged with a number of environmental breaches stemming from its Secunda operations. The company appeared in court in September, with charges of illegal disposal of toxic waste and illegal construction. Furthermore, the allegations claim, Sasol dismissed a whistleblower who had disclosed evidence of a potential environmental risk.