Shareholders of Suncor Energy Inc. will soon know more about the costs of carbon in the company’s business. ... Enbridge Inc. will provide additional disclosure about its Northern Gateway oil-pipeline project. These Calgary companies didn’t reach these decisions independently, however. In each case, the commitment to expanded disclosure about environmental issues came after talks with executives at Ethical Funds Co., an institutional investor with social responsibility as part of its core mission. The efforts of Ethical Funds illustrate a growing place for environmental concerns in the corporate governance movement.....Now activist institutional investors are asking to bring carbon costs and water quality to the annual shareholder ballot.Businesses that ignore climate change ignore both opportunities and risks. Firstly, they ignore outright threats to their business - such as the risk that they won't have available water when they need it. ( Just ask the Merritt rancher that was isntructed to turn off his irrigation pumps last fall because the kokanee were spawning.) Secondly, they ignore the opportunity to positon themselves as environmental leaders and attract more customers or investors by doing so.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010