Investment firms push oil companies on Syria

Updated with correction

A group of social investment firms plans an e-mail campaign to urge 11 oil companies to either stop operations in Syria or communicate their condemnation of the violent crackdown on protesters to the government, said Maureen O'Brien, head of engagement at the Conflict Risk Network, which is spearheading the effort for the investors.

The investors plan to send e-mails to Royal Dutch Shell, Suncor Energy, Total, Gulfsands Petroleum, INA Industrija, Maurel et Prom, MENA Hydrocarbons, Petrofac, Saipem, Sinochem Group and Tatneft, Ms. O'Brien said. The e-mails will be sent primarily to investor relations representatives and in some cases the companies' chairmen, she added.

The investors are Boston Common Asset Management, Calvert Investment Management, Domini Social Investments, GES Investment Services and Capricorn Investment Group.

Under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, “companies must show they are respecting human rights and act toward mitigating human rights impacts even if they have not contributed directly to them,” Constantina Bichta, principal ESG researcher at Boston Common said in a statement.

The investment firms are members of the CRN, a group of 100 institutional investors with $3 trillion in assets and financial service providers that call on companies to promote human rights and peace in areas of conflict.

Royal Dutch Shell and Suncor media representatives couldn't be reached for comment.