Siemens Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser said that the German conglomerate has decided to remain involved in a controversial coal mining project in Australia, despite massive environmental criticism as the country faces unprecedented bushfires.
According to Bloomberg, the company will establish a sustainability committee that will have the power to stop or escalate projects, but the company will ultimately continue with the Adani contract, Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser said in a statement on Sunday.
“I do realize, most of you would have hoped for more," Kaeser said in the statement. “While I do have a lot of empathy for environmental matters, I do need to balance different interests of different stakeholders."
The contract for some 18 million euros (USD 20 million) calls for Siemens to supply rail infrastructure for the Carmichael mine in Queensland, near the Great Barrier Reef. "We have just finished our special meeting.... We have evaluated all the options and have concluded that we must fulfil our contractual obligations," said Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser in a message on his Twitter account on Sunday.
He also promised that Siemens, which supports the Paris climate agreement to curb carbon emissions, would create a body to better "manage in the future the questions of protecting the environment." The proposed Carmichael mine, owned by India's Adani group, has long been controversial but anger over the multi-billion-euro project has been fanned by Australia's catastrophic bushfire season. Protesters had also camped out at Siemens locations, including a 24-hour protest in front of the company’s headquarters in Munich.