05 Feb 2020, 13:21
Julian Wettengel

Siemens Energy ready to be at centre of global climate debate - CEO

Reuters / Deutsche Welle

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser is ready for Siemens Energy - an energy business it plans to spin off by September - to be at the centre of the global debate on climate change, he told the company’s annual general meeting in Munich, according to Reuters. “That is why we are setting up a sustainability committee, where independent leadership people will be represented,” he said as about 300 climate protesters gathered outside the venue to protest Siemens' involvement in the Adani coal mine project in Australia. Kaeser said it was “almost grotesque” that Siemens had been singled out by environmentalists for criticism over its contract with the Adani coal mine project in Australia. He added that the company would become climate neutral by 2030.
The company also posted a weaker-than-expected industrial profit during its first quarter as a downturn in the manufacturing sector hit its flagship digital industries business and its wind power unit suffered losses, Reuters reported. Losses at its Gamesa wind power unit and feeble demand for large turbines pushed the company’s industrial profit down by almost a third.

The company has come under fire for its participation in the controversial Adani coal mine project in Australia at a time when the southern continent has been ravaged by unprecedented wildfires. Climate movement Fridays for Future has argued that this would undermine all of the company's other climate action credentials. Kaeser reacted by offering prominent German FfF activist Luisa Neubauer a seat on Siemens Energy's board of directors, an offer which the 23-year-old student declined, arguing Siemens should instead put a climate-concerned scientist there.

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