Calvert seeks support for fracking motion at US energy company Pioneer

Proposal on environmental and social challenges tabled at Texas-based company

Calvert Investment Management, the US sustainable fund firm with more than $12.5bn (€9.6bn) in assets under management, is urging investors in Pioneer Natural Resources to back its shareholder resolution on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at the Texas-based oil and gas company.

At issue is Calvert’s request for the company to report to shareholders on how it manages the “environmental and social challenges and opportunities” associated with the unconventional extraction technique. The motion is due to be tabled at the company’s annual general meeting on May 23.

The resolution was filed as part of a wider campaign targeting nine companies in total that was launched in February by a range of investor groups including As You Sow, Green Century Capital Management, the New York City Comptroller and the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Pioneer, which has a market capitalisation of around $19bn, is opposing the resolution, saying it would duplicate its current communications. But Calvert is refuting this.

It points to peer companies that already make, or have committed to make, better disclosure, such as EOGResources, Noble Energy, Apache and Chesapeake Energy.

Although it acknowledges that Pioneer has recently improved its disclosure, it argues that more quantifiable data is needed to inform investors.

“In recent years, the operational, capital and regulatory risk exposure of Pioneer has grown significantly, but the company’s disclosure has not kept up especially with regard to unconventional oil and gas development,” Calvert asserts.

Calvert suggests Pioneer uses guidance called “Extracting the Facts” from the Investor Environmental Health Network and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

The is would help to “substantiate the company’s dedication to generating durable shareholder value as well as to protecting people, the environment and the communities where it operates”.

The issue is being handled at Calvert by Paul Bugala, Sustainability Analyst, Extractive Industries.

Pioneer is active not only in Texas but also in the Rockies and Mid-Continent as well as in Alaska’s Oooguruk field.