Sasol shareholders approve climate change resolutions, just fewer of them

File photo of Sasol, Sandton. Picture: Karen Sandison/Independent Newspapers

File photo of Sasol, Sandton. Picture: Karen Sandison/Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 23, 2024


Sasol shareholders approved its controversial climate-change resolution on Friday after the first meeting had to be postponed due to activist protest, but fewer voted in favour than they did last year.

Sasol said yesterday that all the resolutions were passed by the requisite majority of voting rights at the shareholders’ meeting on Friday. The first scheduled meeting in November had to be postponed after environmental activists disrupted the proceedings.

The chemical and fuel from coal group said its remuneration policy was approved by 84.67% of voting shareholders, significant considering many listed companies fail to get enough shareholder support on this resolution.

The resolution on Sasol's climate change management approach, and its commitment to a decarbonisation pathway towards achieving its 2030 target and 2050 net zero ambition, was approved by 77.36% of shareholders.

Just Share, the environmental, social and governance focused not-for-profit organisation, said yesterday that once the absentia votes were taken into account, Sasol received only 71% support for its climate vote this year.

In 2022, the percentage that voted for Sasol’s climate plan, excluding the abstentions, was about 92.5%; and in 2021, the first year that Sasol offered a non-binding advisory vote on its climate change approach, this percentage was 95%.

“This demonstrates that support from Sasol’s shareholders for its climate change management approach has dropped more than 24% since Sasol launched its updated strategy and targets,” Just Share said in response to “Business Report” questions.

It said that this also indicated that as the time neared for Sasol to achieve a 30% cut in its greenhouse gas emission, shareholders were increasingly unconvinced that the group had a credible plan to do so.

“The lack of confidence in Sasol’s strategy is supported by the fact that Sasol’s emissions increased over the past year, and its reporting confirms that these will increase again in ‘coming years’. This means it will have to achieve ever greater emission reductions in a rapidly diminishing period of time,” Just Share said.

Sasol said in an earlier notice to shareholders that it had sought shareholder approval for the resolution to endorse its commitment and progress on its decarbonisation pathway, which in turned supported the company’s ability to generate long-term value.

Sasol also wished to confirm its reporting consistency with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) requirements, as a basis to report on progress and challenges faced along the company’s decarbonisation and just transition journey.

“Since 2019, the company has been reporting in line with TCFD recommendations. Going forward, (it) will be subject to mandatory reporting requirements and is preparing for such disclosures. In 2023, the company started incorporating… disclosure requirements from the recommended International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). “

“This year… there have been no material changes to Sasol’s ambition and strategy,” it said in the notice to shareholders.

Sasol’s share price traded 3.99% lower at R154.86 on the JSE yesterday afternoon, well down from R302.54 on the same day a year previously.