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Enron – Biodiversity and Indigenous Impacts Report (2001)

Enron – Biodiversity and Indigenous Impacts Report (2001)

Outcome: 7.9%

Resolved:

The shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, analyzing the biodiversity and indigenous peoples impacts of Enron’s operations worldwide, with an eye towards developing or refining policies addressing these issues.

Statement of Support:

As an international energy company with operations in environmentally and politically sensitive areas, issues such as biodiversity and the rights of indigenous peoples are critical to Enron from a regulatory, business, and ethical perspective. We believe that without a clear understanding of important biodiversity and indigenous peoples impacts, our company may expose itself to unnecessary risks, endanger its reputation as an environmental leader, and pass up the opportunities, financing and recognition that responsible corporate citizenship provides.

Enron recognizes the growing international concern over climate change, and is expanding its wind energy business, a move that positions our company well for the future. Enron’s leadership in this sector has earned accolades from environmental groups, while creating business and shareholder benefits. For example, when Patagonia, Inc. decided to source 100% of its electricity from wind energy, Enron won the contract to provide the retailer with its California energy needs. (Patagonia press release, 7/6/98)

We welcome Enron’s commitment to climate change, but we do not believe that Enron has yet demonstrated an understanding of and a policy commitment towards other important issues, such as biodiversity and rights of indigenous peoples.

For example, an Enron gas pipeline that was routed through tropical forest in Bolivia caused significant controversy, as evidenced by a letter that twenty-five members of Congress wrote to the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) opposing public financing for the pipeline. Eventually, Enron received OPIC financing for this project, but only after OPIC twice delayed their decision to study environmental issues. Meanwhile, media such as the Financial Times (“Pipeline under fire,” 03/09/99) and Latin America Regional Reports (“Enron Struggles to Allay Environmental Objections,” 06/22/99) covered this controversy.

In another example, one of Enron’s proposed wind projects in Washington state appears to be the subject of mounting controversy regarding the rights of indigenous peoples. We understand that this wind project may be sited on an area that indigenous peoples claim is ancestral sacred land, and that indigenous leaders have made several requests for Enron to re-site this project. We are concerned that numerous protests and press articles about this wind project may lead to controversy and delays similar to that which the company experienced in Bolivia.

We believe that by developing a clear understanding of our company’s biodiversity and indigenous peoples impacts, Enron could create or refine policies on these issues that:

help ensure public financing for our company’s projects in the future, reduce political and environmental risks of proposed projects, help preserve its reputation as an environmental leader, and avail itself of new business opportunities.

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