by Staff Writers
Boston MA (SPX) May 21, 2012
Major investors are no longer willing to sit by idly as energy companies engaged in shale gas fracking face concerns about industry drilling problems, growing regulatory uncertainty, and increasing opposition from concerned shareholders.
Today, Boston Common Asset Management ("Boston Common"), the Investor Environmental Health Network ("IEHN") and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility ("ICCR") announced that 55 major investment organizations and institutional investors with nearly $1 trillion in assets under management ("AUM") have united to support "best practices" for the fracking of shale gas.
Spearheaded by the trio of sustainable investing and religious investing groups, the growing coalition seeking industry action includes investment organizations focused on Environmental, Social and Governance ("ESG") factors and those that are not.
The supporting organizations represented in the coalition encompass dozens of institutional investors in the U.S., Europe and Australia, including: APG All Pensions Group, Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, Dexia Asset Management, Mercy Investment Services, Green Century Capital Management, and Regnan - Governance Research and Engagement Pty Ltd. (See the full list of 55 below.)
In December 2011, IEHN and ICCR published "Extracting the Facts: An Investor Guide to Disclosing Risks from Hydraulic Fracturing Operations." (Go here for the full text.)
Steven Heim, managing director and director of ESG Research and Shareholder Engagement, Boston Common, said: "Assuming that hydraulic fracturing is going to continue to be used in some form, investors need to have greater certainty in the marketplace as to industry practices and government regulation. Currently there is no such certainty and that is really why investors are speaking up.
"The marketplace has spoken: The best course here for investors, the environment and human health will be if all shale gas extractors wake up, get the message, and use these tools to do it right."
Richard Liroff, PhD., executive director, Investor Environmental Health Network, said: "We're encouraging a corporate race to the top in adopting best practices. The best-practices guide backed by major investors offers both currently achievable goals, such as minimizing fresh water use, and more aspirational goals, such as virtually eliminating toxic chemicals from fracturing operations.
"The guide cites practices that are already used by 17 companies. Many companies will save money and lower risks; providing business, environmental, and community benefits."
Sister Nora Nash, director of corporate social responsibility, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, and member of the ICCR, said: "Shale gas companies must earn their 'social license' by operating in a more responsible manner. Companies must address the community and environmental concerns prompting bans and moratoria.
"They must listen closely, respond sensitively, and account to both investors and communities for their actions. Otherwise, this is an uncharted process of unwanted development that deprives communities of their rights and leads to litigation and loss of investor confidence."
Investors are seeking action from the industry due to the increasing level of uncertainty about fracking. Examples of the impacts include the following:
+ Spreading moratoria and bans compromise development prospects. Recent restrictions on the industry include: moratoria in New York State and Delaware River Basin Commission; a moratorium in the Province of Quebec, Canada; and outright bans in France and Bulgaria. Shell has estimated that two-fifths of its New York State acreage could be off-limits due to pending rules on fracking in that state. Chevron's exploration license in Bulgaria has been cancelled.
+ Inconsistent practices making it impossible for investors to make informed choices. While some companies have voluntarily increased disclosures, particularly around chemicals used in fracking, there is no systematic reporting on risk management and reduction steps, which means investors may lack information critical to fully evaluating energy companies engaged in shale gas extraction.
+ Growing shareholder unrest. Investor concern is evident in high levels of shareholder votes supporting requests for more fracking disclosure. In the 2010 and 2011 proxy seasons, 21 shareholder resolutions at 16 companies received strong support, averaging 30 percent votes on six resolutions going to votes in 2010, and an average 40 percent votes on five resolutions voted on in 2011.
Most of the remaining resolutions were withdrawn in the course of discussions with companies, which either took positive action or pledged that they would do so in the near future.
About The Best Practices Guidelines
+ Manage risks transparently and at board level;
+ Reduce surface footprint;
+ Assure well integrity;
+ Reduce and disclose all toxic chemicals;
+ Protect water quality by rigorous monitoring;
+ Minimize fresh water use;
+ Prevent contamination from waste water;
+ Minimize and disclose air emissions;
+ Prevent contamination from solid waste and sludge residuals;
+ Assure best in class contractor performance;
+ Secure community consent; and
+ Disclose fines, penalties and litigation.
In alphabetical order, the full list of the 55 investors, investment management and institutional investor firms supporting the "best practices" guidelines for fracking are as follows: Adrian Dominican Sisters (USA); Adveq Real Assets, Adveq Management AG (Switzerland); APG All Pensions Group (Netherlands); As You Sow (USA); Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (Australia); Bon Secours Health System, Inc. (USA); Boston Common Asset Management, LLC (USA); Calvert Investments, Inc. (USA); Catholic Health East (USA); Catholic Health Partners (USA); Catholic Healthcare West (USA); Catholic Super (Australia); Ceres (USA); Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (USA); Christopher Reynolds Foundation (USA); Compton Foundation (USA); Congregation Sisters of St. Agnes General Council (Fond du Lac, WI) (USA); Dexia Asset Management (Belgium); Domini Social Investments LLC (USA); Dominican Sisters of Hope (USA); Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose (USA); Ethos (Switzerland);
Everence Financial (USA); First Affirmative Financial Network (USA); Governance for Owners (United Kingdom); Green Century Capital Management (USA); Local Government Super (Australia); Maryknoll Sisters (USA); Mercy Investment Services (USA); Miller/Howard Investments, Inc. (USA); NEI Investments (Canada); Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment (USA); Park Foundation (USA); Parnassus Investments (USA); Pax World Funds (USA); Portfolio 21 Investments (USA); Qube Investment Management Inc. (Canada); Regnan - Governance Research and Engagement Pty Ltd (Australia); Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Western American Province (USA); Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment (USA); Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) (Canada); Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth (USA); Sisters of St. Dominic, Congregation of the Most Holy Name, San Rafael (USA); Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, St. Francis Province (USA); Sisters of St.
Francis of Philadelphia (USA); Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange (USA); Sisters of St. Louis, California Region (USA); Sisters of the Holy Family (USA); Socially Responsible Investment Coalition (SRIC) (USA); Swift Foundation (USA); The Sustainability Group at Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge Trust, LLC (USA); Trillium Asset Management LLC (USA); Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province (USA); Walden Asset Management, a division of Boston Trust and Investment Management (USA); and Zevin Asset Management (USA).
Boston Common Asset Management
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Beijing keeps busy with maritime disputes
Beijing (UPI) May 18, 2012
As China reiterated to the Philippines its claim to the Scarborough Shoal, officials were working with North Korea to diffuse another fishing crisis. Huangyan Island, as Scarborough Shoal is known in China, is an inherent part of Chinese territory, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. However, China stands ready to find a diplomatic solution to the standoff over the ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|