Ethical Funds Calls on Investors to Ask Tough Questions
VANCOUVER, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - Too much development too fast in Alberta's oil
sands is creating negative environmental and social impacts that bring risks
to energy companies and their investors, says The Ethical Funds Company
(Ethical Funds) in its latest White Paper: "Unconventional Risks: An Investor
response to Canada's Oil Sands".
The paper, issued today in Whistler at international socially responsible
investing conference "SRI in the Rockies", says solutions that could reduce or
even eliminate some risks are emerging, but project development has outpaced
the implementation of land use planning and emerging technologies. The paper
analyzes the situation in the oil sands and proposes a strategy for
institutional investors to reduce the risks to the companies they own.
"We are proposing that institutional investors join us and call on oil
sands companies to suspend new oil sands development pending the introduction
of a comprehensive land use plan, while at the same time speeding up the
development and introduction of potential solutions that could improve
environmental and social performance," says Robert Walker, Vice President,
Sustainability, The Ethical Funds Company. "We believe this is the most
effective and constructive action institutional investors can take to reduce
Alberta's oil sands contain 173 billion barrels of established reserves,
the second largest oil reserve in the world next to Saudi Arabia. Canadian oil
sands have been under development for decades, but new technology, rising oil
prices, shrinking conventional reserves and voracious demand have fuelled a
modern-day development rush to rival the gold rushes of the past.
"Recent market volatility has slowed the pace of development," says
Walker. "This presents an opportunity to take a breath and implement better
oil sands development practices."
Ethical Funds has identified four categories of risk associated with the
current pace of oil sands development: litigation risk, related to First
Nations; asset retirement obligations; regulatory risk related to the
environmental and social costs of the oil sands; and the risks associated with
the social license to operate. Ethical Funds is calling on institutional
investors to apply pressure to take the necessary time to address these risks.
Ethical Funds wants institutional investors to ask oil sands companies
what they are doing to evaluate and implement technologies that: reduce energy
use; capture and store greenhouse gases; and reduce air pollution. They also
want to ensure that all affected First Nations consent to and benefit from
development that is occurring in their communities. Stewardship of the
Athabasca River and groundwater is also a priority.
The full paper can be reviewed at: www.ethicalfunds.com
About The Ethical Funds Company
Launched in 1992, The Ethical Funds Company is Canada's leading manager
of socially responsible mutual funds, delivering a successful track record of
combining financial performance with an objective of making good companies
better. Ethical Funds has Canada's largest team of sustainability analysts
focused on environmental, social, and governance evaluations and engagement.
By offering a full range of funds, Ethical Funds makes sustainable investing
accessible to all Canadians. Ethical Funds is a division of Northwest &
Ethical Investments LP. www.ethicalfunds.com
For further information:
For further information: Alex Chapple, Hoggan and Associates, Tel: (604)
742-4264, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org