Calvert to SEC: Insist on Meaningful Transparency in Disclosure of Payments Made to Governments by Oil, Gas and Mining Companies

Mar 02, 2011, 10:52 ET from Calvert, Bethesda, MD

Calvert Continues to Press for Disclosure of Material Information for Extractives Investors; Era of Dwindling Resources Make Tax, Reputational and Other Risks Even Greater Concerns.

BETHESDA, Md., March 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the latest initiative in its three year effort as the leading U.S. investor advocate for extractives revenue transparency, Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc. today urged the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to insist on the highest possible disclosure requirements by oil, gas and mining companies.   Calvert is one of the nation's leaders in the field of sustainable and responsible investing.  

At issue is how the SEC chooses to frame rules to guide implementation of the groundbreaking Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. That law contains provisions requiring oil, gas and mining companies registered with the SEC to disclose payments that they make to foreign governments and the U.S. Government for the purpose of commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals.

In a filing with the SEC, Calvert noted that disclosure requirements are the only means by which to achieve meaningful transparency: "Investors do not have access to the sufficiently detailed, reliable, consistent, and comparable data regarding host government payments, such as taxes, royalties and bonuses to account for the distinct material, social, political and regulatory risks confronted by resource extraction issuers."

"We believe that the course for the SEC to follow is clear," said Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President of Sustainability Research and Policy of Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc.  "The depletion of conventional oil reserves and the declining grades of mineral resources such as gold are forcing oil, gas and mining companies to intensify their efforts to develop resources in countries with poor governance, weak rule of law, and high levels of corruption. The resource payment disclosures required by the Dodd-Frank Act are necessary to evaluate the reputational, regulatory and taxation risks involved in operating in an era in which all the easy to access resources are gone."

"Calvert is impressed with the proposed rules' overall fidelity to the text of Section 1504 of Dodd-Frank and supporting legislative intent," said Paul Bugala, Sustainability Analyst, Extractive Industries of Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc. "Calvert's comments are intended to optimize the benefit investors should realize from this critical amendment to the Exchange Act by ensuring that the information it yields is consistent, comparable and comprehensive."

The Calvert filing with the SEC is available online at http://www.sec.gov/comments/s7-42-10/s74210.shtml.  

Calvert has been a major advocate for the oil, gas and mining industry transparency amendments to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.  Calvert took a leading role in engaging Congress, other investors, industry representatives, and the Publish What You Pay coalition in building the case for greater disclosure of extractive industries payments to governments of domicile countries.

In April 2010, Calvert released a briefing paper, written by Calvert's Extractive Industries Sustainability Analyst, Paul Bugala, in consultation with others that was the first to make the case that extractives revenue payments may be of material interest to investors and should be disclosed. Specifically, the paper demonstrates that the disclosures required by the Dodd-Frank Act would provide investors information necessary to fully assess country-specific, regulatory, and tax risk in the oil, gas and mining industries. Calvert's briefing paper is available online at http://www.calvert.com/NRC/literature/documents/10003.pdf. In November 2010, Calvert and the Social Investment Forum (SIF) submitted a comment letter during the early consultation period the SEC held prior to issuing the current rule.  Calvert's November 2010 comment letter is available online at http://www.sec.gov/comments/df-title-xv/specialized-disclosures/specializeddisclosures-49.pdf.

Beyond the SEC, Calvert also continues its support for resource payment disclosure requirements through other means, such as through supporting the proposed International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) that would require royalty and tax reporting by companies in the extractive industries.

About Calvert

A leader in Sustainable and Responsible Investments (SRI), Calvert Investments offers investors among the widest choice of SRI strategies of any investment management company in the United States. Each SRI strategy employs one of three proprietary approaches. Calvert Signature Strategies integrate two distinct research frameworks: a rigorous review of financial performance plus a thorough assessment of environmental, social, and governance performance. Only when a company meets Calvert standards for both frameworks will we consider investing. Calvert Solution Strategies selectively invest in companies that produce products and services designed to solve some of today's most pressing sustainability challenges. Calvert SAGE Strategies emphasize strategic engagement to advance environmental, social, and governance performance in companies that may not meet Calvert standards today, but have the potential to improve. More information on Calvert SRI strategies is available at http://www.Calvert.com/SRI.

SOURCE Calvert, Bethesda, MD



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