From the Commons

Investors Urge Banks to Support Re-routing Dakota Access Pipeline, Protect Water

BOSTON//February 17, 2017 – A coalition of over 130 investors representing over $685 Billion in assets under management called on banks financing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to address or support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request to reroute the pipeline and avoid their treaty territory. Lead investor Boston Common Asset Management is joined by Storebrand Asset Management and Calvert Research and Management, with support from First Peoples Worldwide—along with CalPERS and the Comptroller of the City of New York. In a statement today, the investors encourage the banks to take urgent action and arrive at a peaceful solution that is acceptable to all parties.

The investor group cites concern about reputational and potential financial risks for banks with ties to DAPL. Banks may be implicated in conflict and controversies related to the pipeline and could face long-term brand and reputational damage resulting from consumer boycotts and possible legal liability. To date, consumers have closed bank accounts worth over $66 million—and are threatening to pull another $2.3 billion—from the banks financing DAPL.  The City of Seattle, for example, voted unanimously to sever its ties with Wells Fargo over its involvement with DAPL, potentially divesting $3 Billion.

Steven Heim, Managing Director, Boston Common Asset Management

“It is time for the Banks to take collective action to protect their reputations and investments as financiers of the Dakota Access Pipeline. As investors and fiduciaries, we urge them to address or support the Tribe’s call for rerouting the pipeline and achieve a resolution satisfactory to all parties, including the Tribe. As it stands, the projected route for the pipeline threatens the Tribe’s water supply and sacred sites. As part of our human rights due diligence on investments, we have long advocated for free, prior, informed consent from Indigenous communities, in light of the potential harm to their vital assets like their land, water, and air. Therefore, Boston Common organized this coalition of over 130 concerned investors with almost $700 Billion in assets under management. We expect investor support to grow over the coming weeks.”

Rebecca Adamson, President and Founder, First Peoples Worldwide

The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline has implications beyond the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. It is a fight for everyone who wants clean air, clean drinking water, and a voice in what happens in their backyard. As governments increasingly prove incapable or unwilling to protect these things, citizens are turning to the market and the market is responding.

Anne Simpson, Investment Director, CalPERS

“It’s important that we join with our fellow investors to ensure that the banks we own exercise proper oversight in their lending. Attention and respect for community concerns and environmental risks are fundamental to sound business practice. Financing a project does not mean these responsibilities can be checked at the door. We’re looking for a positive response from the banks. They hold the purse strings.”

Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, City of New York

“Building this pipeline on tribal lands is wrong, and the banks associated with DAPL must act. By funding this project, they are risking great reputational harm – especially if the conflict escalates. Alternatives do exist. We implore the banks involved to take meaningful action and develop a new plan that respects the tribe and the sovereignty of their land.

Matthew Smith, Head of Sustainable Investments, Storebrand Asset Management

“Storebrand Asset Management is concerned that financing this project carries reputational and financial risks. We trust the banks understand this and will work to achieve a suitable solution that meets the needs of all parties involved.”

John Steur, President and CEO, Calvert Research and Management

“As an investor, Calvert Research and Management is concerned about the impact of financing the Dakota Access Pipeline. We believe these large banks need to recognize the reputational and other risks they face through their involvement in this project.”


Banks Engaged

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Mitsubishi UFJ), BayernLB (Bayerische Landesbank), BBVA (BancoBilbao Vizcaya Argentaria), BNP Paribas, Citibank (Citigroup), Crédit Agricole, DNB, ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China), ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank (Mizuho Financial Group), Natixis, Société Générale, SMBC (Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group), SunTrust Bank, TD Securities (Toronto-Dominion Bank), Wells Fargo


Media Contact:

Steven Heim, Boston Common Asset Management

617-960-3908 or 617-785-9527 (mobile)


About Boston Common Asset Management

Boston Common Asset Management is an experienced investment manager dedicated to the pursuit of financial return and social change. We invest over $2 billion on behalf of institutional and individual investors. We analyze investment risks and opportunities from a broader perspective, because we believe understanding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors is fundamental to valuing a company. We combine this research with rigorous financial analysis to build diversified portfolios of high-quality, socially responsible companies. We strive to be responsible stewards of our clients’ assets by seeking competitive investment returns from portfolios of companies that can contribute to and benefit from sustainable, global growth. As shareowners, we urge our portfolio companies to improve transparency, accountability and attention to ESG issues. We are proud to have built a strong investment record and believe we have meaningfully improved corporate practices globally through our engagement.

Published On: February 17, 2017Categories: From the Commons
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