由于投资者面临环保压力,三菱放弃了越南的燃煤电厂, 社会风险

照片: Michael Gaida / Pixabay

Mitsubishi has pulled its support for a coal power plant in Vietnam following major pressure from investors and activists over the company’s fossil fuel investments. The decision comes as firms across Southeast Asia face intense scrutiny for environmental and social impacts and shareholders leverage their influence.

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Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation announced on February 25 that it will withdraw from a controversial coal power plant in southern Vietnam.

Sources close to the company 告诉 路透社 that Mitsubishi decided to cut ties to the project because of climate change concerns and targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The Vinh Tan 3 coal plant in Binh Thuan province is costing an estimated US$2 billion and will generate 2,000 MW of energy if finished, becoming Vietnam’s 第二 coal plant larger than 1,500 MW. 该 Vinh Tan coal power station, where the plant is being built, already has a major carbon footprint with three coal power plants.

The project was one of two large-scale coal plants in Vietnam financed in part by Mitsubishi. The other, 旺昂 2 in central Ha Tinh province, has drawn international criticism for its massive environmental impact and carbon emissions, including from major global asset managers and the young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Coal has become one of the riskiest energy investments in Vietnam, as the country has already built enough coal power plants to meet 几乎 40% of its power needs. Demand for coal will only decline as Vietnam continues its rise as the leader for solar power in Southeast Asia. 在 2019, 越南的 5,695 MW of solar power represented over 50% of the region’s solar capacity—before a solar building spree in 2020—according to a 报告 by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Mitsubishi’s decision to pull out of the Vinh Tan 3 plant shows that foreign developers will respond to the right combination of market forces, demands by shareholders and criticism over environmental and social impacts of their investments.

The announcement also comes as investors are showing increasing concern about environmental and social governance issues across Asia.

Sustainability and social impact carry increasing weight with investors

二月里, Larry Fink, CEO of global investment giant BlackRock, told a conference of the Institute of International Finance that companies must adopt more sustainable strategies or “you’re just going to see less equity demand for your shares.

“We’re not making these statements as an environmentalist—I happen to be one—but we’re making the statement that this is investment risk,” Fink 说过.

International investors in Southeast Asia are also facing increasing 压力 in the aftermath of Myanmar’s military coup on February 1. Advocates, governments and shareholders are pushing companies and banks operating in Myanmar to cut all ties to the military and to pressure the new junta to step down and respect the results of the country’s election last November.

Business ties with Myanmar’s military have long been a public relations and ethical liability, but the spread of social media and internet access in the country has amplified the voices of activists inside the country. Investors in Myanmar—and in much of Southeast Asia—face a new level of scrutiny and increasingly powerful calls for corporate accountability.

照片: 三脚架故事- 从 / CC BY-SA

Mitsubishi drops one large coal plant but keeps another

Like other firms invested in fossil fuel energy and mining, Mitsubishi is particularly exposed to risks from the social and environmental impacts of its portfolio. 在里面 2019-20 财政年度, 公司 made more than half of its profit from natural gas and mineral resource businesses. 值得注意的是, Japan has 认捐 to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The Vinh Tan 3 plant is 已备份 by the government-owned Electricity of Vietnam, Pacific Group and OneEnergy. OneEnergy is a joint venture of Mitsubishi and Hong Kong-based CLP group and holds a 49% 赌注 in the project.

CLP is also a major investor in the Vung Ang 2 coal plant, though the company 公布 在后期 2019 that it will no longer fund new coal projects. CLP and Mitsubishi each hold a 40% stake in Vung Ang 2.

But the project’s financiers face international criticism and a stream of negative press for their hypocrisy in funding the plant while their governments commit to cutting carbon emissions. There are also major 问题 about the plant’s profitability.

在十月 2020, a group of the world’s largest asset managers an open letter to the plant’s investors urging them “not to be associated with or involved in Vung Ang 2, as we find the project to suffer from high climate-related, financial and reputational risks.The letter was signed by a group of institutional investors that together manage 4.7 trillion euros in assets (US$5.67 trillion), including Nordea and Amundi.

旺昂 2 has quickly become a case study in the public relations and investments risks of coal projects—begging the question of why Mitsubishi has stayed with Vung Ang 2 while dropping Vinh Tan 3.

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