Sasol digs bigger hole for itself in paid media spin as emissions increase in 2023 and share price tumbles

  • Sasol Limited has recently paid to publish a letter in several local media outlets.
  • The letter, from Sasol’s CEO Fleetwood Grobler, is addressed to “stakeholders” and titled “Balancing People, Planet, Profit on our pathway to Net Zero”.

The letter states that: “Some views about Sasol’s approach have, regrettably, been inaccurate. It is therefore important that we set the record straight”. Although Sasol has on several recent occasions stated that Just Share’s analysis of its climate disclosures is “inaccurate” and “misleading”, its sponsored letter does not deal with the concerns raised by Just Share, including:

  • Sasol’s admission in its 2023 climate disclosures that “external factors … threaten to hinder the delivery we are aiming to achieve by 2030”;
  • The inexplicable removal from its 2023 disclosures of a target to procure 40% renewable energy for its Energy Business by 2026; and
  • The fact that achieving its 2030 targets requires a significant acceleration in the pace of greenhouse gas emission reductions compared to what Sasol has been able to achieve over the last 19 years, and this in circumstances where emissions increased in 2023, and are set to further increase in 2024.

Related news: SASOL AGM decends into chaos over flawed climate goals – cancelled

On 2 November 2023, Just Share published a briefing assessing Sasol’s 2023 climate disclosures. Although Sasol’s sponsored open letter does not reference Just Share’s briefing, its two previous media releases, claiming that Just Share’s briefing is “inaccurate” and “misleading”, as well as other statements to the media, make clear that the so-called inaccuracies it intends to correct include the content of Just Share’s briefing.

Total annual compensation for outgoing CEO, Fleetwood Grobler, was R41million for the year to June 2023. Image credit: Freddy Mavunda

Sasol also publicly criticised Old Mutual Investment Group (OMIG), one of its biggest shareholders, for pre-declaring its intention to vote against Sasol’s 2023 “say on climate” resolution. Sasol stated that OMIG “appears to have placed significant reliance on the Just Share report without proper consideration and/or recognition of any of Sasol’s recent disclosures and assertions made in response, which point to factual inaccuracies contained in Just Share’s report”.

Ninety One has also pre-declared its intention to vote against Sasol’s climate change resolution. Although Ninety One’s concerns are similar to those of Just Share and OMIG, Sasol has not alleged that Ninety One placed improper reliance on Just Share’s briefing in making its decision not to support Sasol’s climate plans.

In none of its public statements, however, has Sasol demonstrated why Just Share’s briefing is “misleading and inaccurate”, nor has it “corrected” any of the facts set out in our briefing.

Sasol share price is down nearly 35% year to date. Image credit: JSE

The briefing is based entirely on Sasol’s own disclosures, and is an accurate reflection of what Sasol has reported, bolstered where appropriate by reasonable conclusions based on Sasol’s disclosures.

In this statement, we address the aspects of our briefing which appear, based on Sasol’s responses, to have caused it the most concern, and demonstrate Sasol’s failure to provide evidence that these are not accurate.

For the reasons set out in this statement and in our briefing, and in the absence of any credible basis for Sasol’s accusation that our briefing is either inaccurate or misleading, Just Share reiterates its voting recommendations for Sasol’s yet-to-be rescheduled Annual General Meeting i.e.:

  • that shareholders vote against Sasol’s “Say on Climate” resolution; and
  • that shareholders vote against the re-election of non-executive director Muriel Dube.

Download the full statement

Author: Just Share 

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