Fracking Industry Fails to Address Toxic Chemicals and Climate Impacts
Contact: Lucia von Reusner, Green Century Capital Management, 617-482-0800, email@example.com
December 11, 2014: ExxonMobil,* Chevron,* and WPX Energy* continue to rank among the worst fracking companies in a report released today by Green Century as part of a coalition of investment advisory firms and advocacy organization allies. The report is the second annual assessment of the fracking industry, and scores 30 major oil and gas companies on their reported efforts to reduce the negative impacts of their hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ operations. No company scored points on more than 18 of the possible 35 indicators, leaving the industry as a whole with a “failing” score.
“Despite growing scientific evidence and public concern about the risks of fracking, the industry is failing to clean up its act,” stated Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Capital Management, one of the firms that co-authored the report. “The findings further demonstrate that gas companies are potentially risky investments, which was a principle driver in Green Century’s decision to divest from them in Green Century’s mutual funds,” added Samuelrich.
The report, Disclosing the Facts 2014: Risk and Transparency in Hydraulic Fracturing, was released by a coalition of investment advisory firms and advocacy organizations concerned about the risks of fracking — Green Century Capital Management, the Investor Environmental Health Network, As You Sow, and Boston Common Asset Management, as a follow-up to its 2013 report of the same name. Exxon, Chevron and WPX all scored less than eight out of 35 points, again putting them at the bottom of the list of companies surveyed. While a few companies minimally improved their scores over last year following pressure from investors, the industry as a whole is failing to report measurable progress in reducing the risks and impacts of fracking.
The report benchmarks 30 major oil and gas companies engaging in fracking across the United States on their public reporting on 35 key performance indicators related to management of toxic chemicals, water and waste, air emissions including methane leakage, community impacts, and governance, with a focus on quantitative reporting. Only six companies — BHP Billiton Ltd.,* Hess Corp.,* EQT Corp.,* Encana Corp.,* Apache Corp.,* and Noble Energy Inc.,* received points for reporting on more than 10 of the 35 key performance indicators requested, with the highest scoring company—BHP Billiton—receiving points for just 18 out of the 35 indicators.
“Our report found that companies across the industry are relying on sweeping statements and empty assurances that fracking is safe, while still failing to provide data to demonstrate improved practices,” stated Lucia von Reusner, Shareholder Advocate at Green Century. “Public controversy about fracking will continue unless companies can prove that they are actively working to reduce toxic chemicals, water contamination, methane leakage, and the other negative impacts of fracking that damage our environment and local communities,” added von Reusner.
Overall, the report finds that companies across the industry are relying on broad policies and anecdotal case studies to communicate assurances about their efforts to manage the risks and impacts of fracking, while failing to provide quantifiable data detailing these efforts. This year’s report included additional questions about how companies are managing methane leakage, a controversial issue since methane is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of “global warming potential” over a 20-year time frame. The report finds that only three companies report on their rate of methane leakage.
While this year’s report echoes last year’s conclusions that the industry as a whole is failing to report measurable reductions of its impacts, a few companies improved their scores following engagements with investors concerned about companies’ performance. Notably, BHP Billiton moved from near the bottom of last year’s rankings to receive the highest score this year; EQT is the third ranked company this year, doubling its score over last year’s rankings following engagement with Green Century; and Noble Energy* also nearly doubled its score following engagements with concerned investors.
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Green Century Capital Management is an investment advisory firm that manages the first family of diversified and responsible fossil fuel free mutual funds, the Green Century Equity Fund and the Green Century Balanced Fund. Founded in 1991 by a network of non-profit organizations, Green Century leverages the power of its investments to pressure companies to reduce carbon pollution, protect endangered species and reduce political spending, as well as engaging other investors around national energy and climate change policies, such as the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
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