Natural Gas Companies Respond to Investor Concerns over Environmental, Community Impacts of Fracking Operations
Companies agree to increase disclosures on managing and reducing risks
March 8, 2012—Four companies, EOG Resources*, Noble Energy*, PennVirginia Corporation* and Stone Energy*, have responded to shareholder concerns and are improving transparency around the impacts of their hydraulic fracturing operations (fracking) and their efforts to reduce risks to communities and the environment. Investors have consequently withdrawn shareholder resolutions seeking such enhanced reporting.
“Right now, many companies are not providing investors, or the communities in which the companies operate, sufficient information on the steps they are taking to address and mitigate the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing operations, so shareholders are pressing companies to provide increased transparency,” said Luan Steinhilber, Director of Shareholder Advocacy at Miller/Howard Investments, Inc., filer of the resolutions at PennVirginia and Stone Energy. “We commend these companies for taking steps to provide increased transparency not only on the impacts of their operations but on their risk reduction practices.”
“This year’s effort builds on the remarkable success achieved by investors last year, when similar proposals received an average 40 percent** vote. These high votes send strong messages to companies that significant numbers of their shareholders require increased disclosure on this issue,” said Larisa Ruoff, Director of Shareholder Advocacy for Green Century Capital Management, which withdrew proposals from EOG and Noble Energy. She added, “We are pleased to see that momentum is building and companies are responding to the growing chorus calling for increased disclosure. We encourage the other companies which received resolutions to follow suit.”
This season, shareholders have a new tool in their dialogue with companies. In December, the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) released “Extracting the Facts: An Investor Guide to Disclosing Risks from Hydraulic Fracturing Operations,” which offers a framework for improved corporate transparency and encourages broader adoption of existing best management and reporting practices.
“In order to maintain their social license to operate, companies must fully disclose the steps they are taking to minimize risks, to acknowledge their challenges and failures, and to clearly define the methods they will use to continually improve operations,” said Richard Liroff, Executive Director of IEHN. IEHN and Green Century coordinate investors’ engagements with companies on fracking. “The Guide offers a road map for companies to respond to the heightened concerns around fracking, and articulates industry best practices that will reduce the risks, and consequently, the impacts.”
This year, shareholders filed resolutions with six additional companies, calling on the companies to provide a detailed account of how they are addressing the risks associated with community concerns, regulatory impacts, tightened regulations, and moratoria. Shareholders expect the remaining proposals will be voted on this spring at company annual meetings.
In addition to the four companies where resolutions have been withdrawn, shareholder proposals were filed at Anadarko*, Chesapeake Energy*, Chevron*, Exxon Mobil*, Range Resources*, and Ultra Petroleum*. Proposals have been filed by the following investors and investor advisors: As You Sow, Green Century Capital Management, Mercy Investment Program, Miller/Howard Investments, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, and Trillium Asset Management.
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 Investor Environmental Health Network is a collaborative partnership of investment managers, advised by nongovernmental organizations, concerned about the financial and public health risks associated with corporate toxic chemicals policies. IEHN, through dialogue and shareholder resolutions, encourages companies to adopt policies to continually and systematically reduce and eliminate the toxic chemicals in their products and activities.
Miller/Howard Investments, Inc. is an independent, SEC registered investment boutique with over two decades experience managing equity portfolios for institutions and individuals in disciplined, dividend-focused investment strategies. We invest in companies across the broad market that our investment team identifies as financially strong with the ability to pay and consistently raise dividends. Our portfolio strategies include: income-equity broad market stocks, master limited partnerships (mlps), utilities, infrastructure, and natural gas.
* As of December 31, 2011, neither the Green Century Balanced Fund nor the Green Century Equity Fund held PennVirginia, Stone Energy, Anadarko, Chevron, or ExxonMobil. As of December 31, 2011 EOG Resources comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and 0.51% of the Green Century Equity Fund; Noble Energy comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and 0.32% of the Green Century Equity Fund; Chesapeake Energy comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and 0.28% of the Green Century Equity Fund; Range Resources comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and 0.19% of the Green Century Equity Fund; and Ultra Petroleum comprised 0.00% of the Green Century Balanced Fund and 0.09% of the Green Century Equity Fund. 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.
** The percentage in favor was 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.
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.
You should consider the Funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. To obtain a Summary Prospectus and/or Prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds, please click here, email email@example.com, or call 1-800-93-GREEN. Please read the Summary Prospectus and/or Prospectus carefully before investing.
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The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 3/12
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