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Reveal carbon risks, oil firms told home

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  • The Observer, Sunday 26 April 2009

Oil giants involved in the exploitation of tar sand fields face calls this week to disclose future carbon liabilities. Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) and environmental charity WWF-UK are launching a campaign for a legal requirement for companies including Shell and BP to include this information in financial reporting.

The Co-op says tar sands activities threaten to create a new class of toxic investment that could push the financial system into deeper crisis, while WWF wants the UK to take the lead and make London the centre of green finance. Nearly £40bn of UK pension assets is invested in British-based oil and gas companies. Co-op and WWF say investors need disclosure so they can factor financial and environmental risks into their decision-making. Disclosure of the financial risks associated with tar sands should be a key part of a new transparent system.

The Co-operative Bank is already funding a legal challenge against oil companies by the Beaver Lake Cree nation in Canada’s Alberta province. Chief Al Lameman claims caribou, elk, moose and other animals are being harmed and plants used in traditional medicine are threatened.

Paul Monaghan of CFS said: “The Co-op focused on the issue of unconventional oil in last year’s Observer Good Companies Guide and highlighted the risks and need for improved transparency on environmental performance. Legislation encouraging better disclosure on carbon would be a good start.”

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