UK - MPs will today pose questions in the UK House of Commons asking its own Parliamentary Pension Fund to back a responsible investment campaign concerning the collection of tar sands by energy firms.
A cross-party group of MPs today published an Early Day Motion today, asking about the financial, environmental and social risks of Canadian tar sands investments and called on the £367m (€404m) Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) to vote in favour of shareholder resolutions requiring BP and Shell to report on the investment risks associated with their projects.

A UK campaign was launched by FairPensions earlier this year with the  backing of a coalition of institutional and individual investors, and is accompanied by the ESG activity of three Dutch asset managers - APG, PGGM and Mn Services - to try and assess the implications of cleaning oil and energy from Canadian tar sands. (See earlier IPE story: Dutch asset managers engage with Shell over tar sands)

FairPensions also launched a consumer-driven campaign last month encouraging pension fund members to lobby their pension schemes into backing a resolution tabled at Shell's AGM on 18 May. (See earlier IPE story: Campaign targets members to drive pension fund voting)

The Leader of the House of Commons will today face questions about the resolution in Parliament as Simon Hughes MP, shadow minister for energy and climate change, will ask about the fund's exercise of its voting rights at annual general meetings.
The resolutions suggest oil companies may not be properly accounting for future carbon costs, high operational costs, environmental clean-up costs and the risk of litigation as a result of impacts on indigenous communities, as well as the financial and reputational damage this may incur.

Commenting ahead of parliamentary questions, Hughes said: "Tar sands are a very risky investment - financially, environmentally and socially. The resolutions ask BP and Shell to report to their investors on how they are managing these risks. Government should lead by example and be a responsible investor; for this reason it is essential that the MPs' pension fund supports these resolutions," he added.

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