Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Citing Fracking and Climate, Shareholders Question Fossil Fuel Investments

Climate

Climate News Network

By Kieran Cooke

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Shareholders in the U.S. are showing growing concern about their investments in companies exposed to climate change-related risks, according to new data released by Ceres.

The annual round of corporate shareholder meetings—referred to in the U.S. as the proxy season—has recently ended. Ceres says that at those meetings a total of 110 shareholder climate change and environmental sustainability-related resolutions were filed with 94 U.S.-based companies. Issues included concerns about fracking, flaring and both the environmental and financial risks of further exploitation of fossil fuel reserves.

Some of the U.S.’s largest public pension funds were among those filing resolutions, including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the New York State and New York City Comptrollers’ Offices. Ceres estimates that along with other large institutional investors these groups manage funds worth in excess of $500 billion in assets.

“The strength of this year’s proxy season shows unwavering investor concern about how companies, especially energy companies, are managing the profound climate-related risks of fossil fuel production, including traditional and unconventional oil and gas extraction,” says Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.

“Investors saw especially important progress in tackling flaring, hydraulic fracturing [fracking] and methane emission impacts, all key contributors to climate change,” Lubber continued.

A resolution questioning the activities of Continental Resources, a large oil producer, was withdrawn after the company agreed to reduce or eliminate flaring at its well sites. Similar resolutions filed with three companies involved in the booming hydraulic fracturing industry—EOG Resources, Ultra Petroleum and Cabot Oil & Gas—were also withdrawn after management agreed to increase disclosure of their activities, including steps being taken to reduce the environmental risks of fracking.

“Companies are responding to the growing calls for transparency and accountability,” says the head of a major investment fund. “Without qualitative reporting, shareholders cannot be assured that a company is taking real steps to minimize these risks and protect shareholder value.”

According to Ceres data, the number of investor resolutions relating to climate change and environmental sustainability has increased significantly in recent years—from around 30 a decade ago to more than 100 last year.

While some companies are responding to investor concerns on climate change and the environment, others are more hesitant.

Shareholder resolutions asking two of the U.S.’s biggest coal companies—CONSOL Energy and Alpha Natural Resources—to disclose how their extensive coal reserves might be affected by proposed new carbon regulations were defeated.

Recent analyses have indicated that if targets to limit the rise in global temperature are to be met, then vast amounts of proven fossil fuel reserves need to remain unexploited.

Such reserves can account for between 50 and 80 percent of the market value of coal, oil and gas companies. If regulations are brought in to support meeting targets on limiting global temperatures, those reserves could become "stranded" underground, having the knock-on effect of exposing companies and investors to significant financial risk.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Food Tank

By Danielle Nierenberg and Alonso Diaz

With record high unemployment, a reeling global economy, and concerns of food shortages, the world as we know it is changing. But even as these shifts expose inequities in the health and food systems, many experts hope that the current moment offers an opportunity to build a new and more sustainable food system.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Brian J. Love and Julie Rieland

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the U.S. recycling industry. Waste sources, quantities and destinations are all in flux, and shutdowns have devastated an industry that was already struggling.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Unhealthy foods play a primary role in many people gaining weight and developing chronic health conditions, more now than ever before.

Read More Show Less
A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less