Southern Union Sustainability Report GHG 2011
|Company||Southern Union Company|
|Sector||Oil and Gas|
|Subject(s)||Climate Change; Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Sustainability Reporting|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Sustainability report including greenhouse gas emissions|
|Status||Withdrawn; Company will address|
WHEREAS: Investors increasingly seek disclosure of companies’ social and environmental practices in the belief that they impact shareholder value. Many investors believe companies that are good employers, environmental stewards, and corporate citizens, are more likely to generate stronger financial returns, better respond to emerging issues, and enjoy long-term business success.
Mainstream financial companies are continuing to recognize the links between sustainability performance and shareholder value. For example, investment firms like Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Asset Management are increasingly incorporating corporate social and environmental practices into their investment decisions. Furthermore, the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment, a set of guidelines that can be adopted by institutional investors addressing environmental, social and corporate governance issues, has approximately 784 signatories representing $22 trillion assets under management as of July 2010.
There is clearly an increase in corporate sustainability reporting. A 2008 survey found that 80% of the Global Fortune 250 companies now release corporate responsibility data, which is up from 64% in 2005 (KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2008).
A number of oil and gas companies do not produce sustainability reports, especially regarding key issues such as climate change, resource use, and employee safety. We believe this absence of disclosure may increase the company’s risk. For example, a KPMG report (Climate Changes Your Business, 2008) which assessed business and economic risks across sectors, identified Utilities as one of several high risk sectors with regards to climate change. The Utilities sector is exposed to a particularly high level of regulatory risk. Fortunately, several industry peers, including NiSource and AGL Resources, have taken initiative in disclosing their sustainability programs.
According to the American Petroleum Institute (Oil & Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting, 2005), some of the potential drivers for sustainability reporting include enhanced business value, improved operations, accountability mechanism, and strengthened relationships. Sustainability reporting helps investors understand what our company is doing to manage environmental and social impacts, and the steps Southern Union Company is taking to respond to the growing interest and opportunities in sustainability.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a sustainability report describing corporate strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and addressing other environmental and social impacts such as resource use (water and energy), as well as employee safety. The report, prepared at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, should be published by October 2011.
SUPPORTING STATEMENT: The report should include the company’s definition of sustainability and a company-wide review of company policies, practices, and metrics related to long-term social and environmental sustainability. We recommend that Southern Union Company use the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines to prepare the report. The Global Reporting Initiative (www.globalreporting.org) is an international organization developed with representatives from the business, environmental, human rights, and labor communities.