$10trn investor group to act on big oil and insurance

Investors seeking information on boards’ competence in wake of Gulf spill

The Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), an investor coalition representing $10trn of assets, is planning to write to oil majors – as well as insurers and re-insurers – in the wake of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Speaking at the Responsible Investor ESG USA conference in New York, Rob Berridge, senior manager of investor programs at US investor group Ceres, said the INCR is currently drafting the letter.

“The things we are looking for are board expertise on environmental health and safety activities,” Berridge said. “Does the board have that expertise? What’s the link between environmental health and safety issues and executive pay?”

The investors will be looking for whether companies have systems in place to monitor contractors on a global basis. “We’d love to see much more information information on that,” Berridge added. The INCR is currently gathering investor signatories to the draft letter.Berridge told RI on the sidelines that the INCR is also planning to write to insurance and re-insurance companies in a bid to hold all actors in the disaster to account.

The news comes as the $132.6bn New York State Common Retirement Fund announced it has hired the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll to represent it in a class action against BP. The fund said it would seek lead plaintiff status in the action. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said: “BP misled investors about its safety procedures and its ability to respond to events like the ongoing oil spill and we’re going to hold it accountable.”

Ceres’ Berridge added INCR’s members would not meet their target of $10bn in clean tech investments by 2010. Boston-based INCR promotes understanding of the financial risks and opportunities posed by climate change.