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Campaign group asks S&P to review Adani Ports in DJ Sustainability index

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Environmental campaign group Market Forces has asked S&P Global to review the inclusion of India’s Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd in a Dow Jones Sustainability Index, citing its ties to the Myanmar military and role in developing a new thermal coal mine.

FILE PHOTO: A general view of a container terminal is seen at Mundra Port in the western Indian state of Gujarat April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Market Forces, which made the request on Wednesday, said in a statement that aside from Myanmar links, Adani Ports should be scrutinised for its role in opening up the thermal coal mine in Australia, and also past ecological damage at ports in India.

Adani Ports did not immediately reply to a request for comment while S&P Global said it could not comment on individual companies. Market Forces is a Melbourne-based activist group affiliated to Friends of the Earth Australia.

The Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets added Adani Ports at number 14 in the transportation and transportation infrastructure sector in November, sending its shares up 6%.

The group aims for its port operations to be carbon neutral by 2025 thanks in part to its large investment in renewables.

Market Forces questioned Adani Ports’ position in the index given its subsidiary will operate a railway line to haul coal from the Carmichael project in Australia’s Queensland state, at a time when financiers are increasingly withdrawing from new thermal coal projects due to climate concerns.

“Investors need to have confidence that ESG indices take into account the full picture of a company’s activities and the impacts they cause,” Market Forces campaigner Pablo Brait said in the statement.

“The signatories to this case believe DJSI has not properly accounted for Adani Ports’ links to thermal coal mining expansion and the devastating ecological damage found at some of its port sites.”

India’s government blamed Adani Ports for causing damage to the environment during the construction of the Mundra port project in Gujarat.

Political campaigners have also questioned Adani Ports’ investments in Myanmar, where a military coup on Feb. 1 led to the ouster of an elected government led by Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Adani Group is developing a $290 million port in Yangon, on land owned by the Myanmar Economic Corporation, which is controlled by the military.

(This story corrects to say that group has asked S&P to review not remove Adani from index in headline, paragraph 1 and paragraph 6; clarifies that the subsidiary will operate not build a haulage business in paragraph 6)

Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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