News From Green Century Capital Management
5/28/2008 >> Chevron Investors Representing $31.4* Billion Support Greater
Disclosure of Tar Sands' Environmental Damage
At Chevron's** annual meeting today, 28.6***% of investors owning $31.4 billion of Chevron's shares voted in favor of a shareholder resolution asking the company to recognize – and eventually stop – the environmental damage caused by expanding the carbon-intensive oil sands operations in the Canadian boreal forest. The resolution, filed by Green Century Capital Management (Green Century), comes on the heels of a similar resolution at ConocoPhillips** earlier this month in which investors representing $20.3**** billion of ConocoPhillips shares voted in favor of a shareholder resolution calling for a report on the environmental and social impact of tar sands development.
"The votes on these two tar sands resolutions demonstrate strong investor concern about the potential risks associated with oil sands development," said Andrew Logan, Oil Program Director with the Ceres investor coalition. "The environmental impacts of oil sands development on the climate, biodiversity, water, and air quality are profound," Logan continued. "Companies that fail to properly manage these impacts face significant financial risks. As a result, investors want improved disclosure to ensure that the companies they own are aggressively managing these threats to shareholder value."
Tar sands oil extraction operations are among the most environmentally destructive projects on the planet. Processing oil sands is highly resource-intensive, requiring the draining of wetlands, the diversion of rivers, and the removal of trees and vegetation, resulting in polluted water supplies and ecosystems. These impacts are devastating because the Canadian boreal forest is home to the breeding grounds of 30% of North American songbirds and 40% of our waterfowl. Logging and oil sands development have already reduced the boreal forest to less than 40% its original size.
On top of the ecosystem impacts, oil sands operations are highly energy intensive and are the fastest growing source of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Because of its carbon-laden products and long-term capital horizons, the oil sector is uniquely exposed to economic, competitive, and regulatory risks resulting from climate change. Chevron operates in 180 countries, most of which have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which requires the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Just last week, Green Century signed onto a letter by investors representing $2.3 trillion calling for the U.S. Senate to enact strong federal legislation to curb the pollution causing global warming.
"The Chevron vote is a positive step forward in the struggle to protect threatened ecosystems," said Kristina Curtis of Green Century. "This vote shows that shareholders are demanding environmental impact data to make informed investment decisions. Traditional energy companies need to develop clean resources for the future which will be smart investments for both the environment and their bottom line."
The28.6% percent vote demonstrates a high level of support for limiting the expansion of tar sands operations. The vote guarantees that this issue will stay on the agenda for Chevron's management in the coming year.
Green Century, working in conjunction with the Sierra Club, filed two other shareholder resolutions at oil and gas companies this year. Today, Green Century is asking ExxonMobil to refrain from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge given the wide variety of wildlife that is sustained in the remote ecosystem. Last week, Green Century’s resolution earned 26.6***% of shareholders’ votes in asking ConocoPhillips to refrain from drilling in another part of Alaska, the Teshekpuk Lake region, given the pristine environmental condition of that area.
*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.
The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC 5/08
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