Climate change risk disclosure vote reflects growing concern among investorsMore than 20% of Petro-Canada shareholders attending the company's annual general meeting (AGM) April 27 in Calgary voted in favour of a proposal calling for increased company disclosure on renewable energy investments and climate risk. This was nearly three times the level of shareholder support for climate change disclosure recorded at Petro-Canada's 2003 AGM, reflecting increased concern on the issue from institutional investors.
The shareholder proposal was sponsored by The Ethical Funds Company and co-sponsored by Vancouver-based Real Assets Investment. "Our goal is to encourage Petro-Canada to start transitioning itself from an oil and gas company to an energy company," said Robert Walker, vice-president, SRI policy and research, with The Ethical Funds Company. "Petro-Canada has made laudable investments in fuel ethanol, but it needs to both increase and diversify its investments in renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind," he added.
The World Energy Council estimates the value of the global market for renewable energy at between $234-265 billion (U.S.) by 2010, rising to $1.9 trillion (U.S.) by 2020. The level of support for the disclosure proposal is part of a wave of increased investor concern about climate change.
"Major financial leaders in the U.S., representing nearly one trillion dollars in assets, have formed the Investor Network on Climate Risk and issued a ten-point call to action to increase corporate disclosure on the risks posed by climate change to investors," said Andrew Logan of the Boston-based Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES).
"The support for the proposal sponsored by The Ethical Funds Company suggests institutional investors on both sides of the border are becoming more concerned about climate change and the potential negative impact this may have on portfolio performance," he added.
Launched in 1992, The Ethical Funds Company is Canada's leading manager of socially responsible mutual funds with approximately $1.8 billion in assets under management. More information is available on the company's Web site, www.ethicalfunds.com.