Expansion of oil-sands petroleum production in Canada creates numerous potential environmental and financial risks for long-term profit levels of companies like BP, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips, according to a joint report from Ceres and RiskMetrics Group to be released Monday.
“The report does not advise investors to avoid investing in oil sands, but it does identify numerous risks investors should be aware of that could limit long-term expansion of oil sands production, revenues and profit levels for oil sands producers, and investors, in years ahead,” according to a statement by Peyton Fleming, Ceres spokesman.
The report is being released in advance of the annual meetings of Royal Dutch Shell on Tuesday and Exxon Mobil on May 26. Both companies have shareholder proposals calling for reports on the risks associated with their oil-sands projects.
Shell in a statement said the issues raised by the shareholder group submitting the proposal are already being addressed and information the group requested has already been disclosed, except for information that was commercially sensitive. “Given the company's ongoing approach to scrutiny and transparency, this resolution is not necessary,” the Shell statement said.
ConocoPhillips shareholders on Wednesday voted 22% in support of a similar proposal, co-sponsored by the $138 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, Trillium Asset Management and Green Century Capital Management, according a joint statement of the group. Results were unavailable from ConocoPhillips. Last year, a similar proposal at ConocoPhillips received 30% of the vote, according to a company report.
BP shareholders on April 15 voted 6.2% in support of a similar oil-sands proposal, according to a company report.
Ceres, a coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations focused on addressing climate change and other sustainability issues with companies, also oversees the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a group of some 90 pension funds, including CalSTRS, and other institutional investors.
RiskMetrics Group provides risk management and corporate governance services.