Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Before the Enbridge AGM today

With chants of ‘No more pipelines, no more tankers’ and ‘Tar sands Shut down, Enbridge Get out’ a passionate but orderly crowd protested against the Northern Gateway pipeline as Enbridge held it’s AGM at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto this afternoon.

The protest was organized by the the Yinka Dene Alliance and it’s supporters. The YDA is a coalition of Carrier and Sekani First Nations in northern BC that includes Nadleh Whut'en, Nak'azdli, Takla Lake, Saik'uz, and Wet'suwet'en First Nations whose territory comprises 25% of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipelines and tankers project.

Here’s what NEI/Ethical Funds has to say:

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline: When Bad Projects Happen To Good Companies

"First Nations’ opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project threatens to squander years of effort building corporate social responsibility leadership – one of several reasons why we will be taking a shareholder proposal to the company’s Annual General Meeting.

We filed a shareholder proposal with Enbridge asking how First Nations opposition has been factored into the decision to pursue the Northern Gateway pipeline. Despite a courteous and respectful dialogue with the company on the proposal, we appear to have a fundamental difference of opinion about the risks facing the project, so we will be taking our issue to the Annual General Meeting on May 9, 2012.

Enbridge has spent years building a reputation as one of the most progressive companies in the oil patch, something it is rightfully proud of. And the value of this reputation is not in the number of awards it has won: it is in the ability of the company to win its social license to operate, to be a place where employees can be proud to work and to be an attractive partner for future projects.

This makes the company’s approach to its pursuit of the Gateway project perplexing. It seems clear to us that the company’s current approach is leading straight to a battle with First Nations, and whether the battlefield is in the courts or on the ground it is unlikely to be quick or quiet. If this happens, hanging on to that hard earned reputation will be difficult for Enbridge, if not impossible.

There will, be monetary costs to such a battle — the legal fees, the cost of continued delays, and the opportunity cost of company executives spending their time occupied with Gateway instead of pursuing other profitable projects. These can ultimately take a significant bite out of shareholder returns.

To this end, we are looking for answers from the Enbridge board and we hope that other shareholders are just as curious."

Here’s some media coverage:

Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel ready for Protests

VanCity Enbridge Investments Draw Members' Ire, Protest

More to come…

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