US - The New York City pension funds plan to call on shareholders to urge copper and gold producer Freeport McMoRan to review its environmental policies and practices in Indonesia.
City comptroller William Thompson called for the review on behalf of the New York City pension funds.
“Freeport McMoRan’s poor environmental record needs to be examined,” Thompson said.
Reports have indicated that the producers dumped nearly 230,000 tons of waste each day, releasing large quantities of sediments and toxic heavy metals such as copper, cadmium, mercury and arsenic into what was once a pristine river system in Indonesia.
The company was also charged by Indonesia’s minister of the environment who claimed its operations were in violation of the government’s water quality regulations.
The New York City pension funds - New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System of New York City, the New York City Police Department Pension Fund, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System - hold 544,458 shares of the company’s common stock worth almost US$29m.
On behalf of the funds, Thompson demanded shareholders be given a report on the review of Freeport McMoRan’s policies by September 2007.
“As shareholders, the New York City pension funds have a right and a responsibility to call for this review in light of the recent allegations of environmental violations,” Thompson said.
“Freeport McMoRan may be adversely affecting Indonesia’s environment, the funds’ long-term share value, as well as its societal license to operate in Indonesia."
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