Joint Letter to GE Regarding Amu Power's Lamu Coal Plant
Mr. John L. Flannery
Chairman & CEO
General Electric Company
41 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210
CC: GE Board of Directors
Dear Mr. Flannery,
As long-term investors with nearly $713 billion in assets under management and advisement, we believe that the mitigation of climate change and the protection of human rights are essential to safeguarding our investments. We support General Electric's ambition to align with the Paris Agreement and transition to a low-carbon economy, and we share the company’s goals of achieving long-term carbon reduction targets. Accordingly, we are writing to voice our concern that GE is set to acquire a stake in Amu Power in Nairobi, Kenya. Plans to move forward with Amu Power’s Lamu coal plant are at odds with GE’s public positioning on climate change and the company’s stated support of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
We are alarmed by apparent risks involved with the coal plant’s construction and operations in Lamu, home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The plant will negatively impact human health as coal production releases toxic pollution into the air and leaves behind ash that can contaminate groundwater supplies. Tremendous amounts of water will be needed for cooling processes, and waters discharged back into ecosystems at higher temperatures will damage marine ecosystems. This will harm the livelihoods of the fisherman, craftsmen and builders that depend on the marine life, mangroves and coral, respectively.
We are also concerned that the proposed plant is in conflict with Kenyan domestic laws, as Articles of its Constitution explicitly protect biodiversity and the rights of its citizens to a healthy environment and safe water. Furthermore, this plant will affect not only Lamu, but all Kenyans as its construction and operation will cause an increase in electricity rates for everyone. Amu Power has been misleadingly marketing the price of electricity from the plant as $0.078/kWh, while outside analysts calculate that the price of electricity from the plant will range from $0.11 to $0.26/kWh depending on the capacity factor. Such potential rate increases will have a significant impact in a country where the middle class earns, on average, just $1,000/month.
Financial, environmental and reputational risks of development of the plant were recently highlighted by U.S. Senators in a letter to the African Development Bank Group encouraging the bank to vote against financing this project. Such international scrutiny and pressure is likely to continue alongside increasing local opposition.
Given the urgency of addressing climate change, and to improve public and environmental health and wellbeing, GE and the energy sector must move beyond fossil fuels. Bringing on plants that incorporate marginally improved technology but will lock in the use of coal for decades is the wrong direction—for Kenyans and for the world’s climate.
The advancement of this plant is counter-productive and does not demonstrate progress toward a stable climate. Given the level of local and international opposition to this plant, GE’s support is likely to lead to reputational risks that jeopardize its social license to operate.
We are calling on GE to reconsider its plans to move forward with the Lamu coal plant.
Please contact Lila Holzman at [email protected] to set up a meeting to discuss this critical issue. Thank you.
Danielle Fugere Michael Passoff
As You Sow Proxy Impact
Adrian Dominican Sisters, Portfolio Advisory Board
As You Sow
Conference for Corporate Responsibility Indiana and Michigan
Congregation of St. Basil
Congregation of St. Joseph
Core Capital Management, LLC
Dana Investment Advisors
Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise
Domini Impact Investments LLC
Dominican Sisters of Hope
Dominican Sisters of San Rafael
EdenTree Investment Management
Everence and the Praxis Mutual Funds
Figure 8 Investment Strategies
Friends Fiduciary Corporation
Green Century Capital Management
JSA Financial Group
Local Authority Pension Fund Forum
Mercy Investment Services, Inc.
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
Miller/Howard Investments, Inc.
Mount St Scholastica (Atchison KS)
Newground Social Investment
NN Investment Partners
Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment
Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary
School Sisters of Notre Dame Cooperative Investment Fund
Shareholder Education and Advocacy, Sisters of Charity, BVM
Sisters of Bon Secours, USA
Sisters of Mary Reparatrix
Sisters of St. Francis Charitable Trust, Dubuque
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange
Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Sisters of the Holy Cross
Sisters of the Precious Blood
Sisters of the Presentation of Aberdeen SD
The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge
Trillium Asset Management LLC
Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province
Veris Wealth Partners
Zevin Asset Management