Uniper and Fortum’s coal-fired power plants must be shut down!
The Finnish state-owned company Fortum is the largest single owner of the German energy company Uniper. The Finnish state is thus indirectly responsible for huge emissions from coal and gas plants across Europe. The emissions from Uniper’s coal-fired power plants alone are equivalent to about half of Finland’s annual emissions.
We demand that Fortum exercise its power as a majority shareholder and align its operations with climate science as well as the 1.5 degree target. Selling coal plants to another company is not the right solution.
Fortum is must urgently begin to shut down Uniper’s – and its own – coal-fired power plants, while also respecting the rights of workers.
Six facts about Fortum and Uniper
1. Uniper’s emissions are enormous
Uniper’s annual greenhouse gas emissions (60 MB) are higher than those of the entire Finnish state (56 MB). The emissions from Uniper’s coal-fired power plants alone are equivalent to about half of Finland’s annual emissions.
In addition to greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change, air pollution from fossil fuel power plants causes diseases and premature deaths.
2. Fortum is trying to have it both ways
In its advertising, the company promotes change towards a cleaner world and develops new energy solutions. Fortum CEO Pekka Lundmark is also a board member of the Climate Leadership Coalition, which has ambitious climate targets.
However, with the Uniper deal, Fortum has become one of the most polluting companies in Europe and has not presented a plan to shut down Uniper’s coal plants. On the contrary, it has even given its blessing to the launch of the new Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant in Germany. Uniper has also threatened to sue Dutch authorities due to new legislation banning the use of coal in 2030.
3. Fortum has a lot of power
As the largest owner (69,60 %), Fortum has significantly more influence over Uniper than it would like to admit.
It is the company’s responsibility to guide Uniper to a low-carbon path as soon as possible and publicly announce its plans to decarbonise.
4. Thanks to Fortum, Finnish pensions are trapped in high-risk coal
The funds of responsible investors, such as the Finnish government and Finnish pension funds, cannot be tied to actions which accelerate climate change. Investors must use their leverage to put pressure on Fortum, and the state’s ownership steering policy must be aligned with the 1.5 degree target.
5. The shutdown of the Uniper and Fortum coal power plants is urgent
According calculations by Climate Analytics, the use of coal in the EU and OECD countries must end by 2030 to reach the 1.5 degree target. However, Fortum CEO Pekka Lundmark has publicly supported the opening of the new Dattel 4 coal-fired power plant in Germany and Germany’s plans to phase out coal only by 2038.
Fortum must update its operations in line with the 1.5 degree target and climate science. It also needs to urgently begin shutting down coal-fired power plants – while also respecting the rights of workers.
6. Germany does not want or need Uniper’s new coal plant Datteln 4
The use of coal has dropped by 50 % on market terms in Germany during the past five years, and the future clients of Datteln 4, RWE and DB, have tried to get rid of their contracts, even through the court system. Originally the plant was supposed to open in 2011. Despite the 10-year delay and the phase-out of nuclear power, Germany has not suffered from the absence of Datteln 4.
Fortum claims that Datteln 4 will replace old coal plants, but the utilisation rate of the old plants has been low (lower than the utilisation rate of Datteln 4 would be) and they would probably be shut down even without the opening of Datteln 4. An overwhelming majority of Germans opposes Datteln 4.
Our demands to Fortum
→ Fortum must not shirk its responsibility and sell its own or Uniper’s coal-powered plants
→ Fortum and Uniper’s coal plants must be closed by 2030
→ Fortum and Uniper must create a road map for phasing out coal power, including a fair transition for employees
→ Fortum and Uniper must immediately stop investing in coal power
→ Uniper must not open the new Datteln 4 coal power plant
→ Uniper must not pursue ISDS action against the Netherlands for the new coal phase-out law