Investor Need for Oil, Mining Transparency Highlighted at Brookings Event
Bennett Freeman, Senator Cardin and Others Argue for Strong Oil, Mining Transparency Law
On June 9, Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President for Policy and Sustainability Research at Calvert Investment Management, Inc., participated on a panel hosted by the Brookings Institution titled “Transparency and Natural Resources: How the U.S. Can Regain Its Leadership”. During the event, Freeman reiterated Calvert’s longstanding position that the oil and mining industry disclosures required by Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act could be useful in the analysis of investments. He also reasserted the need for these disclosures to be public, comprehensive, and disclosed on a project level, so that the law could fulfill its purpose as an investor protection measure.
The event also featured Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a co-author of Section 1504; Michelle Kosmidis, European Commission and EU Fellow at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a key contributor to a European Union law that complements Section 1504; Dotun Oloko, a Nigerian anti-corruption campaigner; Stephen Comstock, Director, Tax & Accounting Policy at the American Petroleum Institute; Daniel Kaufmann, Nonresident Senior Fellow for Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institute; and Simon Taylor, Founding Director of Global Witness.
The Brookings event comes at a critical point in the implementation of Section 1504, which requires oil, gas and mining companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to disclose the payments they make to the governments where they operate. On May 27, the SEC said it would issue proposed rules for implementation of the law by March 2015, after previous rules were vacated by the U.S. District Court’s decision in the American Petroleum Institute et al vs. SEC.
Calvert has been the leading investor support of Section 1504, among a group of companies that includes the world’s largest financial institutions. On April 24, Calvert joined a group of investors representing $2.85 trillion in assets under management (AUM) in urging the SEC to issue rules for Section 1504 that protect the interests of investors. Calvert’s efforts in support for Section 1504 have also included organizing an August 2013 letter to the SEC in which investors representing more than $5.6 trillion AUM praised the strong rules the Commission established for the law and urged it to fight efforts to undermine or overturn them.