UK - Socially responsible investment experts are using a £200m air pollution lawsuit against oil giant BP to highlight the importance of pension funds following SRI guidelines.
Insight Investment head of investor responsibility Craig Mackenzie said lawsuits such as the US environment agency action against BP were becoming all too common.
“There have been a number of cases over the last five years where companies have been forced to pay staggering fines for environmental issues.”
He said Insight held regular meetings with BP and intended to find out the company’s attitude to the case and the alleged violations.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District is suing BP for thousands of air pollution violations at its refinery in Carson, California, over an eight-year period.
A BP spokesman commented: “We believe the penalties sought are clearly disproportionate to what we believe were minimal impacts as a result of these oversights and errors in processes and procedures.”
But the Universities Superannuation Scheme environmental responsibility adviser David Russell has also raised concerns about the oil and gas sector.
“There may be a gap in the oil and gas sector between what are good policies at a corporate level and actual performance on the ground.
“By examining the sorts of issues covered under SRI – corporate responsibility issues, including governance – it is a good way for our fund to protect itself from various risks being missed by companies or others in the sector, including analysts.”
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