Oilsands policies lenient: investors

The Syncrude oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, November 3, 2011. Syncrude is one of...

The Syncrude oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, November 3, 2011. Syncrude is one of the largest oil sands producers in Alberta. (Reuters/TODD KOROL)

VINCENT MCDERMOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:15 AM ET

An international group of investors representing $2 trillion in oilsands investments is concerned that provincial and industrial environmental policies are too lenient and could become a financial problem.

“While we recognize and appreciate the leadership that a number of companies in the sector have demonstrated, the collective nature of the risks facing the industry requires collective action,” the 10-page statement reads. “(We) are concerned that the current approach to development, particularly the management of the environmental and social impacts, threatens the long-term viability of the oil sands as an investment.”

The document was delivered to Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, an industry-led environmental group and has been signed by 49 different groups.

Many signatories come from financial institutions and pension funds in Canada, the United States and Europe. A large number also come from labour groups — such as the Canadian Labour Congress — and church groups — such as the United Church of Canada and Our Lady’s Missionaries.

The statement was released by the Boston-based group Ceres, a coalition of investors, corporations and environmentalists working to advance ecological causes through the economy.

However, the statement argues the oilsands industry is not reducing greenhouse gas emissions fast enough. The signatories argue that there is little public information available on land reclamation and that industry co-operation with aboriginal groups is poor.

“We recognize the economic significance of the resource,” says the statement. “We believe these performance improvements should be prioritized ahead of unmitigated growth ambitions for oil sands development.”

vincent.mcdermott@sunmedia.ca


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