Signature Sponsor
BURN MORE COAL Files Shareholder Proposal With CMS Energy



March 6, 2019 - CMS Energy has announced its intention to exit coal and boasts about cutting CO2 emissions. We want CMS Energy to explain to shareholders how these plans will be a benefit to anyone or anything. It’s terrific that CMS Energy believes it is “uniquely qualified to provide the strong leadership needed to protect our planet.” But we’d like the details.




Greenwashing Audit


Shareholders request that, beginning in 2019, CMS Energy annually publish a report of actually incurred corporate costs and associated actual and significant benefits accruing to shareholders and the climate from the company’s climate-related activities that are voluntary and exceed government regulatory requirements. The report should be prepared at reasonable cost and omit proprietary information.

Supporting Statement

CMS Energy’s purpose is to generate profits from generating affordable and reliable electricity while obeying applicable laws and regulations. Maintaining coal plants is the least expensive option for generating electricity per the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Coal Council 2018 report, “Power Reset” ( Yet CMS Energy intends to burn less coal and replace it with more expensive electricity generation.

This resolution is intended to help shareholders monitor whether CMS Energy’s voluntary activities and expenditures touted as protecting the climate are actually producing meaningful benefits to shareholders and the climate.

Corporate managements sometimes engage in “greenwashing” ? i.e., spending shareholder money on schemes ostensibly environment-related, but really undertaken merely for the purpose of improving the public image of management. Such insincere “green” posturing and associated touting of alleged, but actually imaginary benefits to public health and the environment may harm shareholders by distracting management, wasting corporate assets, ripping off ratepayers and deceiving shareholders and the public.

For example, CMS Energy plans to shutter its five remaining coal plants by 2040 in a bid to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent. CMS touts that this action is “needed to protect our planet.”

But no law or regulation requires reductions in carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is colorless and odorless and, as plant food, is necessary for life on Earth. NASA reports that higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are greening the Earth.

Moreover, China is reportedly now adding coal plant capacity equal to the entire US coal fleet. Around the world, there are reportedly 1,100 coal plants under construction. In comparison, CMS Energy operates a mere 5 coal plants. So, what are the actual benefits to ratepayers, shareholders and the climate of CMS Energy’s bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. By how much, in what way, and when will any of these activities reduce, alter or improve climate change, for example?

The information requested by this proposal is not already contained in any CMS Energy report.


CMS Energy should report to shareholders what are the specific actual benefits produced by its voluntary, highly touted and costly voluntary climate-related activities. Are the benefits real and worthwhile? Or are they just imaginary and greenwashing? Shareholders want to know.