The environmental and human rights record of the miner Vedanta Resources will be put under the spotlight during its annual meeting next week, when the India-based group will face protests from pressure groups and an attempt by activist shareholders to remove members of the board.
Vedanta, the world’s biggest zinc producer, declined to comment yesterday on reports that the shareholder lobby group Pirc will propose the removal of Naresh Chandra, a non-executive director who chairs the London-listed group’s health, safety and environment committee and its remuneration committee. Mr Chandra, a former Indian home secretary and ambassador to the United States, joined Vedanta’s board in 2004. He was not available for comment yesterday.
Pirc, which also called on shareholders not to back the re-election of directors Euan McDonald and Aman Mehta, said: “The failure of the group to engage with explicit investor-led [environmental, social and governance] concerns over the impact of group activities… [is] evidence of a lack of competent oversight, in our view.”
PIRC Raises Concerns On Vedanta Corporate Governance
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Shareholders of U.K.-listed miner Vedanta Resources PLC (VED.LN) should oppose the election of three non-executive directors because of their role in the company’s poor handling of environmental, social, and governance issues, investor advisory group PIRC said Tuesday.
This marks the latest in a string of public outcries against the firm’s corporate governance record. Dutch pension manager PGGM Investments two weeks ago joined some of Europe’s biggest public investors in selling out of Vedanta on human-rights grounds, even though Vedanta is one of the strongest gainers in the FTSE-100 index over the past 12 months.
PIRC recommended that shareholders vote against the election of senior non-executive director Naresh Chandra, chair of the India-focused miner’s healthy, safety and environment committee and the remuneration committee.
Mega-miner to meet its match?
On July 28th 2010, the board of UK-listed Vedanta Resources welcomes shareholders to the company’s 2010 annual general meeting in London. As at the previous seven AGMs, directors will confront a raft of vocal allegations of their miscreance, misappropriation and misdeeds. To such an extent that most other miners will be thanking their lucky stars they’re not standing in Vedanta’s shoes.Thanks partly to the efforts of some mainstream foreign NGOs, UK public and press attention will focus on Vedanta’s attempts to access the Nyamgiri bauxite reserves in Orissa. This year the company will be more on the defensive than ever. It has been losing thousands, if not millions, of dollars as the project gets further delayed. Within recent months many of India’s own “great and good ” (at any rate, politically influential servants) have cast grave – if not terminal – doubt upon the legality of the project. Nonetheless, it’s important to recognise that Vedanta isn’t simply a pursuer of aluminium-rich ore from a remote mountain top in eastern India. It is the corporate fiefdom of India’s third richest man, Anil Agarwal, who along with his family were named by Business World this week as worth well over US$20 billion dollars.