Chevron Escapes Accountability on the Tar Sands
Company censors proposal supported by 28.6%* of its voting shareholders last year
San Ramon, CA -- When Chevron Corporation** shareholders congregate at corporate headquarters this week, there will be plenty to talk about - but a key issue of concern to shareholders has been excluded from the agenda, according to the environmentally responsible investment firm Green Century Capital Management ("Green Century").
The Alberta tar sands, a controversial and unconventional oil reserve where Chevron participates in two major projects, will not be addressed in official materials at the company's annual meeting despite the fact that shareholders owning $31.4 billion*** of Chevron's stock voted for increased disclosure on the company's tar sands projects last May.
Labeled "the most destructive project on Earth" by Canada's Environmental Defence' tar sands development has significant environmental impacts, including heavy water use, clear-cutting of the Boreal Forest, formation of toxic "tailings" lakes, habitat destruction of iconic species such as the woodland caribou, and up to five times higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil extraction. Some shareholders, including Green Century, argue that the company faces regulatory, reputational and competitive risks surrounding the environmental impacts of its projects in the tar sands.
At Chevron's 2008 annual meeting, 28.6%* of shareholders representing $31.4 billion of shares voted in support of a resolution filed by Green Century requesting increased disclosure on the environmental impacts of company operations in the oil sands.
Shareholders will not see the resolution on the proxy ballot this year. Chevron argued that shareholders' request for disclosure on the numerous environmental impacts of the oil sands was substantially identical to a request by other shareholders for company-wide goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff stated that they would not recommend enforcement action against the company if Chevron omitted Green Century's proposal from the proxy ballot.
"In addition to climate-related risks, the resolution that Chevron excluded specifically asks the company to address risks related to: 'water resources... biodiversity... and indigenous populations.' Why does Chevron view these issues as substantially identical to climate change? It makes no sense, and it's especially troubling in the context of the current financial crisis, which was created in part by undisclosed risks," notes Rob Berridge, Program Manager of Ceres' Investor Programs. Green Century is a member of the Ceres-operated Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of 81 members who collectively manage more than $7 trillion.
"Green Century strongly disagrees with Chevron's assertion that a report on the environmental impacts of the tar sands is identical to a report setting goals for company-wide greenhouse gas reductions. These are two very different environmental risks faced by Chevron," states Emily Stone, Shareholder Advocate for Green Century. "Chevron's eagerness to keep shareholders from voting on this resolution, after 28.6% of total shares voted in 2008 were in support of the proposal, shows a disturbing lack of transparency and unwillingness to confront the challenges surrounding the company's investments in the increasingly risky tar sands."
Green Century also co-filed a similar resolution on the tar sands at ConocoPhillips Company** that received approximately 30.3%* of the shareholder vote two weeks ago.
Green Century and other shareholders are requesting a meeting with Chevron executives directly involved with the tar sands to ensure increased transparency around risks the company faces in Alberta.
For more information on the risks associated with Chevron's projects in the tar sands, please visit the Investor Network on Climate Risk and the posted memo about Chevron: http://www.incr.com/Document.Doc?id=410.
* Calculated by (i) dividing the number of votes in support of the proposal by (ii) the sum of the number of votes voted in support of and against the proposal. Abstentions and broker non-votes were not included in the calculation.
** As of March 31, 2009, neither the Green Century Balanced Fund nor the Green Century Equity Fund owned either Chevron Corporation or ConocoPhillips Company. Portfolio composition will change due to ongoing management of the Funds. Please refer to the Green Century Funds website for current information regarding the Funds' portfolio holdings. These holdings are subject to risk as described in the Funds' prospectus. References to specific investments should not be construed as a recommendation of the securities by the Funds, their administrator, or their distributor.
*** Calculated using Chevron's closing price per share on March 31, 2008, the record date for Chevron's 2008 annual meeting.
Green Century Capital Management is an investment advisory firm focused on environmentally responsible investing. Founded by a partnership of non-profit environmental advocacy organizations in 1991, Green Century's mission is to provide people who care about a clean, healthy planet the opportunity to use the clout of their investment dollars to encourage environmentally responsible corporate behavior. Green Century believes that shareholder advocacy is a critical component of responsible investing and actively advocates for greater corporate environmental accountability.
You should consider the Green Century Funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. For a prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds, call 1-800-93-GREEN, visit www.greencentury.com or email email@example.com. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.
Distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC 5/09
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