GLOBAL – French civil servants pension fund ERAFP, which has nearly €14bn in invested assets, has signed up to the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
ERAFP's board decided to do this to increase its effectiveness in applying the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), to which it is a signatory.
The IIGCC brings together institutional investors to face the challenge of climate change.
Through this forum for collaboration, they seek to promote a low-carbon economy, notably by sharing their experience of investment practices and by supporting international public policies in this respect.
ERAFP, which runs a wholly socially responsible investment approach, believes that working to promote a low-carbon economy is consistent with its interests as a long-term investor and with those of its beneficiaries, as well as the international commitments made by the French state.
By joining the IIGCC, ERAFP will be working with 75 mainly European investors with more than €7.5trn in assets under management.
EITI was set up in 2002 and aims to develop an effective system to provide information on payments made by companies in the mining, oil and gas sectors to the governments of countries rich in natural resources.
The French government has supported the EITI since 2005.
ERAFP adopted its SRI charter based on the following five fundamental values: respect of the right of law and human rights, social progress, social democracy, the environment and proper governance and transparency in 2006.
In other news, faith-based Mercy Investment Services has filed a shareholder resolution with major Oklahoma-based oil developer Continental Resources, which is operating in North Dakota's Bakken shale region.
It calls on the developer to "adopt quantitative, company-wide goals, based on current technologies, for reducing or eliminating flaring in all operations and facilities under the company's financial or operational control".
Pat Zerega, director of shareholder advocacy at Mercy, said: "The flaring of natural gas is a tremendous economic waste, and it threatens oil developers' license to operate, as well as the environment.
"Numerous Sisters of Mercy, as well as myself, live in areas of Pennsylvania and New York affected by flaring from shale gas operations, and our concern over the environmental impacts of flaring continues to grow. Continental should focus on eliminating this wasteful practice."
Flaring is the burning off of natural gas that is produced as a by-product from oil wells.
In North Dakota's Bakken shale region, widespread flaring across millions of acres lights up the night sky, burning off enough energy each day to heat half a million homes.
The US oil industry's practice of allowing billions of cubic feet of natural gas to be flared or vented is only loosely regulated at the state level, and growing domestic oil development has propelled the US into the top 10 gas flaring countries globally along with Russia, Nigeria, and Iraq.
In March 2012, Mercy and other investors representing $500bn (€380bn) in assets sent a letter to 21 of the industry's largest shale oil producers, including Continental, urging them to reduce or eliminate flaring.
The signatories of the letter included F&C Asset Management, Boston Common Asset Management, the UK Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, PaxWorld Management, Portfolio 21 Investments and the US Presbyterian Church, among others.