Canadian Mutual Fund Joins Activists Targeting Shale Gas

Canadian mutual fund giant NEI Investments has joined the Investor Environmental Mafia Health Network (IEHN) of activist investors calling on drillers to adopt “industry-wide standards for shale gas drilling.” (See this MDN story for a background on the IEHN.)

Desjardins Group-owned mutual fund company NEI Investments has joined a coalition of 55 international investors with combined assets under management of $1-trillion in calling for natural gas companies to adopt industry-wide standards for shale gas fracking.

“Major investors are no longer willing to sit by idly as energy companies engaged in shale gas fracking face concerns about industry drilling problems, growing regulatory uncertainty and increasing opposition from concerned shareholders,” the group said in a statement released Tuesday.

Spearheaded by a trio of investors including Boston Common Asset Management, the group wants the sector to adopt so-called “best practices” for hydraulic shale gas extraction, the process commonly called fracking. Investors in the North America, Europe and Australia are involved.

“Assuming that hydraulic fracturing is going to continue to be used in some form, investors need to have greater certainty in the marketplace as to industry practices and government regulation,” Boston Common managing director Steven Heim said. “Currently there is no such certainty and that is really why investors are speaking up. The marketplace has spoken: The best course here for investors, the environment and human health will be if all shale gas extractors wake up, get the message and use these tools to get it right.”*

*Ontario (Canada) Financial Post (May 16, 2012) – Desjardins fund joins international call for firms to adopt fracking standards

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