Calgary may label big oil ‘unethical’

Calgary city council is looking into socially responsible investing


Calgary may label big oil ‘unethical’

Calgary probably owes more to the oil sands than any city in Canada. So it’s a little odd that it may become the first to proclaim investing in those projects unethical. That possibility emerged last week, when Calgary aldermen looked into adopting socially responsible investing, or SRI, an increasingly popular investing approach that eschews “unethical” practices such as child labour, weapons manufacturing and excessive emissions.

If Calgary adopts the SRI philosophy for its $2.5-billion portfolio, it will raise a tough question for a city that’s home to the headquarters of such energy giants as EnCana and Petro-Canada: do the oil sands, the fastest growing generator of greenhouse gases in Canada, constitute an ethical investment? Ald. Joe Ceci, for one, isn’t so sure. “We should be able to say to Calgarians that we’re investing in things that are contributing to a positive world,” he argues. “If environmental factors on some of the companies out there are less than sustainable, then we should not be investing in those areas.”

A finance committee vote on whether the city should seek an appropriate SRI framework produced a tie, forcing the matter to city council this week. It’s a contentious issue. “We’re looking at the lowest risk, the highest return,” says Ald. Linda Fox-Mellway, who worries that no rules exist to determine what makes an investment ethical. “If we start getting involved in strictly the environmental piece, we can really limit our returns.”

Still, proponent Ald. Druh Farrell argues that by establishing rules for suitable investments, the city might actually encourage some of the oil sands outfits to go green. “Some companies are better than others in how they treat the environment,” she says. “These are things that we can have some influence on by how we invest.”


Calgary may label big oil ‘unethical’

  1. Big oil is taking quite the beating. You’d almost think it was destroying the planet.

  2. By the sounds of it, we ‘the people’ will be able to come to conclusions afterall, namely that there are ways for being responsible without having the big Kyoto ‘club’ beating down on us.

    Still, I’m certain that the big oil companies wouldn’t be able to run on black gold if we ‘the people’ wouldn’t suffer from our own addictions -likewise.

  3. Thank goodness! We need much more cities and organizations and individuals doing socially responsible investing, and absolutely the oil sands should not be considered socially responsible! If Calgary can do this, maybe several other cities will follow suit!

    • Poor Chistine, you just don’t get it. Don’t worry about other cities investing in oil sands or anything else. The only thing they will be pouring money into is soup lines. There is no one who leaves a smaller carbon footprint than a pauper. Clagary is going to give up its moola from tar sands just like Ontario was going to close down it’s coal fired generators until the nitwit Premier realized everyone would be freezing in the dark, then that election promise was yanked off the table. Chistine if you are sooo worried about this you can be the first to turn out your lights, turn off your heat and go live in a dumpster. Don’t be suprised however if you don’t find Gore or Suzuki there with you. Al will be too busy firing up the boilers at his mansion and Suzuki will be too busy jetsetting around the world saving us all. Cheers

  4. Driving is unethical.

    • Not, that is all that post is worthy of.

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