Investors Call on General Electric to Pull Out of New Coal Plant Proposed in Kenya

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts: 
Stefanie Spear, As You Sow, (216) 387-1609, [email protected]
Michael Passoff, Proxy Impact, (510) 215-2222, [email protected]

Oakland, California—July 18, 2018—A group of 56 institutional and individual investors representing nearly $713 billion in AUM sent a letter to General Electric (GE) today calling on the company to reconsider its recent decision to acquire a 20% stake in Kenya’s proposed Lamu coal plant. Lamu is one of Kenya’s top tourist destinations and home to an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The proposed coal plant faces fierce opposition, both locally and internationally.

The investor letter highlights the concern that the proposed coal plant will have environmental, health and climate impacts and pose significant threats to local communities and industries like fishing and tourism—industries that Lamu citizens depend on for their livelihoods. Further, the coal plant will undermine Kenya’s commitment to, and GE’s public support for, the Paris Climate Agreement and will significantly increase electricity rates in Kenya. Finally, the letter notes that the Lamu coal plant is a counterproductive step for GE that “is likely to lead to reputational risks that jeopardize its social license to operate.”

As You Sow and Proxy Impact are leading U.S. and European investors in calling for GE to avoid this detrimental project.

“GE’s investment in Kenya’s first coal plant will be bad for people, the planet and the bottom line,” Michael Passoff, CEO of Proxy Impact, said. “Kenya is sufficient in energy at this time, and future demand could be met by the rapid growth of renewable energy, which is seen as the preferred and cheaper energy source.”

“We find the decision to take an ownership stake in such a controversial project alarming,” Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, stated. “As investors, we are concerned that the company is not sufficiently considering the community, climate and reputational risks that will come from the Lamu coal plant project. We look forward to engaging with GE to address how it can help bring low cost, clean energy projects to communities like Lamu.”

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As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building and innovative legal strategies. See our resolutions here.

Proxy Impact provides shareholder engagement and environmental, social and governance (ESG) proxy voting services that promote sustainable and responsible business practices.

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