26 Aug Major investment business removes ties with Exxon, Chevron and Rio Tinto
Storebrand says corporate lobbying to undermine climate solutions is ‘unacceptable’
Major investors are taking a stand against some of the largest fossil-fuel related businesses and divesting away from activities that lack clear support towards climate action. Asset management business Storebrand has stated that corporate lobbying against climate solutions is simply ‘unacceptable’.
A major hedge fund worth nearly £70 billion has removed a number of its stocks associated with some of the biggest oil businesses and mining companies in the world that have actively been linked with lobbying against climate action.
Norwegian asset management business Storebrand has removed its interest from Rio Tinto, ExxonMobil and Chevron as part of a new climate policy that directly targets businesses that are actively involved in any political forces that are hindering green policies. Storebrand is one of several other major financial organisations making divestment plans from fossil fuel industries and is one of the first to remove its shares from businesses that are influencing the rate of climate action.
Jan Erik Saugestad, the CEO of Storebrand believes that corporate lobbying that is directly impacting climate solutions is one of the greatest challenges we face and is completely unacceptable.
Storebrand has also confirmed it will divest its support from German chemicals company BASF and American electricity business Southern Company for their participation in lobbying against climate regulations. The asset management business is also removing its investment in other businesses that generate more than 5% of its revenues from coal or oil sands.
Saugestad explains that investors need to move away from oil and gas without deflecting the attention on carbon offsetting, carbon capturing and storage. Saugestad points to renewables as the clear alternative and believes that oil majors like Exxon and Chevron are effectively slowing the pace of transition towards clean energy.
Saugestad points out that other oil majors like BP, Shell and Equinor, despite performing better than others will need to continue working towards improving their processes.
According to climate watchdog InfluenceMap, ExxonMobil lobbyists met with officials from the European Commission in an attempt to lessen the implications of the new European Green Deal agreement. Previous reports from InfluenceMap suggest that five of the biggest oil businesses spend approximately $200 million annually on lobbying activities to delay, control or block strategies to tackle climate change. The latest findings indicate that BP spent the highest on lobbying activities, including a successful campaign to weaken an environmental law in the US, enabling BP to proceed with some oil pipeline and power plant projects with reduced environmental impact reviews. It does seem that BP is now actively changing its lobbying activities. The new CEO of BP, Bernard Looney, has already implemented a major review of the lobby group and removed several agreements due to a lack of cohesion over climate-related policies. Looney has also stated several new climate targets for both short and long term.
Saugestad has suggested that similar investors to Storebrand will possibly follow a similar path in terms of divesting from businesses that support anti-climate lobbying as part of what he refers to as a wider approach to global fossil fuel divestment.