Demanding an environmental dividend
BP and Shell are facing a shareholder revolt over involvement in Canadian tar sands projects.
It has now been confirmed that resolutions on oil sands have been accepted by BP and Shell and will be voted on at their Annual General Meetings in April and May.
A major mobilisation of shareholders and a parallel public campaigning is planned to force the companies into a u-turn over tar sands exploitation. Campaigners are also angered by BPs decision to withdraw from the UK onshore wind industry to concentrate on the US and shut a number of solar projects on both sides of the Atlantic.
The resolutions were filed by a large coalition of individual and institutional shareholders, co-ordinated by FairPensions and supported by environmental NGOs. The initiative is part of a growing disquiet among investors about BP and Shell’s assumptions on the profitability of tar sands as long-term investments, as well as widespread environmental and human rights concerns.
Individual and institutional shareholders sponsoring the resolutions include The Co-operative Asset Management, the UNISON Staff Pension Scheme, Rathbone Greenbank (on behalf of a group of clients) CCLA (on behalf of the COIF Charities Investment Fund) and other fund managers, foundations and faith groups.
Environmental NGOs including WWF, Greenpeace and Platform, who are concerned that tar sands’ greenhouse gas emissions are far higher than those of conventional oil, also support the resolution.
Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive of FairPensions said “This coalition of shareholders, NGOs and individuals are united in registering concern about the risks involved in Canadian oil sands, reflecting rising public concern not just with oil sands but with companies' impact on climate change. Forthcoming campaigning will make this a major issue, and we expect that Shell and BP's 2010 AGMs could prove a watershed in the history of corporate accountability.”
A public campaign, with opportunities for individuals to take action, has also been announced. This includes tool to help you contact your pension provider to ask them to exert pressure on both BP and Shell, see www.countingthecost.org.uk. More details will follow shortly on the Ethical Consumer website.
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