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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Alberta Oil Magazine: Bay Street could be where the next battle over the oil sands is waged

Statoil's Manager of Environment and Climate, Dan Zilnik writes in Alberta Oil magazine: "...the bulk of investment in the oil sands will likely come from large publicly traded companies who can secure the massive financing necessary to make significant oil sands investment. Many of these companies take on debt to finance their activities. It is of little surprise that through their funding of debt, three of the “Big Five” Canadian banks are the largest investors in the oil sands."

The article goes on to say:

"...Advocacy organizations have long recognized the importance of the financial sector in the development of megaprojects which they oppose, traditionally mines and dams. These same organizations have set their sights on the oil sands, which means engaging the Big Five.
The Rainforest Action Network has done extensive advocacy with Canada’s banks, including commissioning reports on the environmental and economic impacts on investing in renewables versus oil sands.

Just as importantly, financial institutions have begun considering the environmental and social impacts of their investments. All of the Big Five have signed onto the Equator Principles, a credit risk framework for managing environmental and social risk in project finance transactions. All of the Big Five report their carbon emissions and have stated ambitions to reduce their greenhouse gases.
As the context for oil sands investment evolves, expect the road to northern Alberta to start on Bay Street. Expect Canada’s Big Five to continue strengthening their understanding of the environmental and social implications of their investments. The oil sands debate has been fraught with mine truck moments, and don’t be surprised if the next one happens on Bay Street."

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