In an age where people are increasingly moving towards ethical and socially responsible investing , what would you think if you found out your pension fund was providing you with a good return partially from investments in companies you personally would never support? Better yet, what if those companies could stand to profit greatly from a project that puts the pristine coast of British Columbia and vast kilometres of natural forest, rivers, lakes and streams at risk of something like this?
While a large majority of British Columbians are busily protesting the Enbridge/Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal, and several communities have now openly opposed it, the BC Government Employees Investment Fund has among their 2011 holdings, quite a few companies that are in support of the pipeline, stand to profit from it and actively promote it.
Rather ironically, the website for BCIMC states that while they utilize a philosophy of environmentally and socially responsible investing where applicable, “bcIMC’s fiduciary duty is to act honestly, in good faith and in the best interests of our clients. Therefore, the primary aim of our corporate governance and environmental and social responsibility activities is to improve the risk and return profile of our clients’ funds. ”
From their investment inventory http://www.bcimc.com/publications/pdf/Inventory/Inventory20110331.pdf
Enbridge – $280 million
Suncor (Tar Sands) – $834 million
Canadian Natural Resources (Tar Sands) – $473 million
Canadian Oil Sands Ltd (Tar Sands) – $106 million
Royal Dutch Shell (Tar Sands Partner – NE BC Gas) – $160 million
Exxon Mobil (Tar Sands Partner) – $247million
Imperial Oil (Tar Sands – Refiner) – $113 million
Total (Tar Sands) – $96 million
BP (Tar Sands Partner) – $87 million
Encana (Tar Sands Partner and Tar Sands and Gas Pipeline) – $225 million
Conoco Phillips (Tar Sands Partner-Encana) – $70 million
Cenovas Energy (Tar Sands – ConocoPhillips/Encana) – $252 million
Transcanada Pipeline (Tar Sands and Gas Pipelines) – $302 million
PetroChina (Tar Sands Partner) – $60 million
Statoil (Tar Sands – Norway Pension Fund) – $20 million
This list is not complete as there are many other service related companies associated with the tar sands whose primary earnings are based on tar sand business.
Another interesting investment by the BC Government Employees Pension Fund manager BCIMC is:
Imperial Tobacco – $35 million
Johnson & Johnson (makers of a variety of nicotine “stop smoking” products) – $130 million http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2011/05/premier-christy-clark-announces-free-support-to-help-smokers.html
Thank you to Phil, for sending us something to think about.