A group of 49 investors with a combined $2trn (€1.53trn) in assets under management have set out their expectations of how the developers of Canada’s oil sands can reduce the environmental and social impact of their operations.
The investors say the companies can lower greenhouse gas emissions, manage water use and promote land reclamation.
One request is for companies to fully incorporate the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent in their relations with First Nations, Metis, Inuit and other communities. Another is that demand is that developers invest in renewable energy. In all, the investors set out 16 specific requests.
The group includes both domestic institutions such as Bâtirente, the British Columbia Teachers’ Indemnity Plan and the Canadian Labour Congress Staff Pension Plan, foreign asset owners such as the Netherlands’ APG Asset Management and the Universities Superannuation Scheme of the UK and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) as well as sustainable fund management firms and faith groups.
“As investors in companies that operate in Canada’s oil sands, we have an economic stake in the long-term viability of the resource, and are committed to constructive engagement to move the industry toward a more sustainable long-term trajectory,” they say in the statement, which has been organised by sustainability advocacy group Ceres.
They argue the improvements “should be prioritized ahead of unmitigated growth ambitions for oil sands development”.
The statement was delivered to Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), an industry group that was formed in March.
“Oil sands companies cannot ignore these performance improvements in the name of unmitigated growth. The risks to their industry and investors are simply too great,” said Matthias Beer, senior analyst of governance & sustainable investment at F&C Asset Management, one of the statement’s signatories.
“This statement is a clear sign that investors are dissatisfied with the status quo in Canada’s oil sands, but the expectations it lays out are achievable,” said Ceres President Mindy Lubber.
“Oil sands companies must listen to their investors and substantially improve their environmental and social performance.”Signatories to the oil sands statement of expectations:
–APG Asset management
-Boston Common Asset Management
-British Columbia Teachers’ Indemnity Plan
-Calvert Investment management
-Canadian Labour Congress Staff Pension Plan
-Christian Brothers Investment Services
-Christopher Reynolds Foundation
-Dexia Asset Management
-Dominican Sisters of Hope
-Ethix SRI Advisors
-F&C Asset Management
-First Affirmative Financial Network
-Fonds de Solidarité FTQ
-Friends Fiduciary Corporation
-Green Century Capital Management
–IHM Sisters of Monroe
-Local Authority Pension Fund Forum
-Maryland State Retirement and Pension System
-Merck Family Fund
-Mercy Investment Services
-OceanRock (Meritas SRI Funds)
-Our Lady’s missionaries
-Rathbone Greenbank Investments
-Sisters of St Ann
-Storebrand Asset management
-Swedbank Robur Fonder AB
-Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge
-Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment
-Trillium Asset Management
-United Church of Canada
-Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk
-Vancity Investment Management
-Walden Asset Management