The Green Gauge: Statoil rapped over oil sands
Another oil company besides BP is drawing the ire of environmental groups this month. The Norwegian-based Statoil is under fire for development of the oil sands of Alberta Canada, a bi-weekly analysis of companies in the news by ASSET4 data providers shows.
Here is a breakdown of the companies that made headlines May 8 to May 21 for winning or losing credibility based on environment-related activity.
Company selections were made by Christopher Greenwald, director of data content at ASSET4, a Thomson Reuters business that provides investment research on the environmental, social and governance performance of major global corporations. These ratings are not recommendations to buy or sell.
Here are the recent hits and misses:
Statoil, the Norwegian oil company that has been praised for its work in carbon sequestration in the North Sea, has joined Shell and BP as yet another oil company coming under criticism at its shareholder meeting for the company’s involvement in the Canadian oil sands. Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund had put forth a proposal demanding the company leave the oil sands.
Although the measure was defeated by over 98 percent of the shares, the NGOs claimed success in raising the issue to the awareness of shareholders and the media, and the measure received10 times as many votes from shareholders compared to the previous year. Greenpeace Canada recently outlined the significant projected growth of oil exports from the Canadian tar sands in a new study entitled, “Tar Sands in Your Tank.”
The ICBC has agreed to provide $500 million in funding for the controversial Gibe 3 dam project in Ethiopia. Environmental concerns had delayed the project and prevented the World Bank and the African Development Bank from investing in the project. Environmentalists warn that the dam will destroy the biodiversity around Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, and will lead to the displacement of up to 500,000 individuals in the region.
A recent study published by a coalition of environmental groups in China has linked both Vodafone and BT Group to suppliers who have been implicated in cases of heavy metals pollution. The study calls on the companies to take greater responsibility for their sourcing of components based on environmental factors.
Canfor, Cascades, West Fraser Timber, and Weyerhaeuser were among 20 member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada which reached a landmark agreement with a coalition of environmental NGOs to prohibit logging on 29 million hectares of Boreal forest in Canada. The agreement also calls for the coalition to implement sustainable forestry practices in an area twice the size of Germany, leading the Pew Environmental Organization that helped broker the deal to characterize it as the “largest commercial forest conservation plan in history.”
Samsung’s new Seek mobile phones offered by Sprint will be shipped in a post-paid box that allows consumers to ship their old phones and accessories to Samsung. Samsung will recycle all phones, batteries and accessories that it receives as part of the program to facilitate safe disposal of old cellular devices.
Jack Ma, Founder, Chairman and CEO of the leading Chinese internet retailer Alibaba.com announced at the company’s annual shareholder meeting that the company would commit to spend 0.3 percent of its revenue to fund conservation and environmental awareness initiatives in China and around the world. Ma, who is on the board of the Nature Conservancy, characterized the initiative as part of the company’s more general commitment to raising environmental awareness among its employees, customers and partners.
Photo shows Greenpeace protesters dressed as Statoil Chief Executive officer Helge Lund (L) and Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach holding a Norweigien flag dipped in oil outside the offices of Statoil Canada in Calgary, Alberta, May 17, 2010. REUTERS/Todd Korol