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Oil Majors’ Lack Of Climate Disclosure Putting Investors At Risk

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Oil Majors' Lack Of Climate Disclosure Putting Investors At Risk

All of the oil majors continue to provide only vague projections of how electric vehicles and renewable energy could radically affect their main businesses of oil and gas, despite the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative‘s pledge this week to invest in low carbon technology.

This comes after recent investigations into ExxonMobil by the US SEC on their reserves valuation in the face of potentially stringent climate regulations globally. The new report by London based non-profit InfluenceMap suggests this lack of disclosure may be an industry wide issue. These findings are particularly relevant in the context of the upcoming release of the first report of the FSB’s Climate Disclosure Task Force, expected in early December 2016.

“The issue of reserves impairment disclosure by the oil and gas majors is now firmly in the spotlight in the wake of the Exxon investigations. Investors and pension holders have a right to know how these companies think their reserves will be affected by climate regulations.” said Steven Heim, Managing Director, Boston Common Asset Management

Exxon, Occidental and Chevron score the worst in the analysis of the ten largest European and North American oil and gas majors due to a mixture of lack of disclosure, low-ambition strategy and negative lobbying against ambitious climate policy, suggesting these three warrant particular investor scrutiny. European majors BP, Shell and Total are close behind, dragged down by lobbying and poor disclosure of electric vehicle penetration impact. Despite proclaiming their support for carbon pricing OGCI members including BP, Total and Eni have all lobbied against efforts to implement science-based carbon pricing measures in the recent past like the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

We believe oil and gas majors can play a positive and leading role in the transition to a low carbon economy

How the oil and gas majors stack up – overall score for climate risk
“We believe oil and gas majors can play a positive and leading role in the transition to a low carbon economy, but for that, we need to be able to collectively work on the challenges of meeting the global climate target. Firms have to be more transparent on their long term energy assumptions and CAPEX sensitivities to new technologies that can impact their future business models.” said Meryam Omi, Head of Sustainability and Responsible Investment Strategy, Legal & General Investment Management

The analysis shows that the oil companies could be dramatically overstating future demand for petroleum products in road transport, which accounts for at least 35% of their present gross revenue. Most oil companies, including BP, Shell, Total and Eni are either silent or mostly vague on the impact of future electric vehicles on oil demand, despite plans by many automotive manufacturers to sell 25% or more electric or low emission hybrid vehicles as early as 2025. Shell, however, added comments to its view of oil demand in light of these pressures on its November 2 2016 earnings call.

Further, Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board and dubbed the “world’s most powerful automotive regulator” wants 100% new cars in California to be zero emission (or close to) by 2030. If adopted in this key market, that translates to a catastrophic drop in markets for gasoline and diesel, a mainstay of big oil’s profits.

“Shareholders are right to query information from management that they consider unrepresentative of the real risks facing the company. Where the information disclosed about the potential impact of climate risk to the business is false, misleading or incomplete, and this affects the share price, investors can sue. These cases could well represent the next wave of shareholder class actions.” said Alice Garton, Senior Corporate Lawyer, ClientEarth

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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