Investors Challenge 18 Oil and Gas Companies on Climate Change, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Sustainability Risks
Investors act on climate and energy challenges while Washington waits
BOSTON, Feb. 8, 2012 /PR Newswire/ -- Leading U.S. investors today announced they have filed shareholder resolutions with Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Chesapeake Energy, ConocoPhillips and 14 other oil and gas companies, pressing them to disclose their plans for managing environmental and workplace challenges including hydraulic fracturing, greenhouse gas emissions and worker safety.
'The common thread of these resolutions is stronger management focus on environmental and social challenges that will have real bottom-line impacts,' said Mindy Lubber, director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and president of Ceres, which helps coordinate the filings. 'These investors are telling companies they expect to see real progress on climate change, clean energy and other sustainability fronts, despite the policy paralysis in Washington.'
Most of the resolutions address financial risks from hydraulic fracturing—called 'fracking'— for natural gas. Resolutions filed with EOG Resources, Chevron, Penn Virginia, Anadarko Petroleum, Range Resources, Chesapeake Energy, Noble Energy, Ultra Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, and Stone Energy seek detailed financial accountings of how companies are addressing risks associated with community concerns, regulatory changes and drilling moratoriums.
'As community opposition and regulatory risks for fracking operations grow, investors are likewise concerned about how businesses are managing their exposure to these risks,' said Larisa Ruoff, Green Century Capital Management, which filed resolutions with Chesapeake Energy, Chevron, EOG Resources, Noble Energy and Ultra Petroleum, and coordinates efforts to press companies on fracking risks along with the Investor Environmental Health Network.
The resolutions follow other resolutions filed in recent years that have achieved significant improvements in the homebuilding, electric power and other industries, as detailed in Proxy Power: Shareholder Successes on Climate, Energy & Sustainability.
'Shareholder resolutions that promote transparency and disclosure are potent weapons to ensure that companies are operating safely and in the long-term interest of investors,' said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, whose office manages the $146.9 billion Common Retirement Fund.
Other resolutions filed with oil and gas firms request that they:
- Set greenhouse gas reduction goals or report on climate change risks to the company (ConocoPhillips, Exxon-Mobil). Companies that voluntarily disclose emissions and carbon reduction strategies have higher stock value, according to a recent study from UC Davis.
- Link executive compensation packages to company environment, social and governance performance, and add board members with environmental expertise (Cabot Oil and Gas, Chevron, Range Resources, Southwestern Energy Company, Occidental Petroleum).
- Report on business and environmental risks from oil sands extraction in Canada (Exxon-Mobil).
The resolutions filed with oil and gas companies are part of a broader investor initiative challenging companies to address climate and sustainability risks. Thus far in 2012, investors coordinating with Ceres have filed 86 resolutions with 69 companies exposed to climate risk.
Ceres leads a national coalition of investors and public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges.
Meg Wilcox, Ceres, 617-247-0700 X148
Cortney Piper, 865-789-2669, email@example.com