Luxemburger Wort – Luxembourg pension reserve fund halts €12 million investments

The Luxembourg pension reserve fund has divested from three companies tied to the Dakota Access pipeline, bringing a small victory for the “No Dakota Access Pipeline” initiative in Luxembourg.

Local activities along with some 120 members of the public have been lobbying for a halt in such investments made by the Fonds de Compensations (FDC) and the BNP Paribas banking group, of which Luxembourg government is a shareholder, since March.

According to a statement on their website, as of mid-May FDC has stopped investing in Energy Transfer Partners LP,

Enbridge Energy Partners in United States and Canada as well as Phillips 66, with the exclusion being approved by FDC’s Board of Directors one month later.

According to the “No Dakota Access Pipeline” website, at the end of December 2015, FDC had total investments worth €12 million spread among Energy Transfer Partners (€3 million), Sunoco Logistic Partners (€1.9 million), Phillips 66 (€4.1 million), Marathon Petroleum Corporation (€2.9 million) and Marathon Oil Corporation as well as Enbridge Energy Management(€0.06 million). These were all directly linked to the construction or exploitation of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the United States. 

While Sunoco Logistic Partners merged with Energy Transfer Partners and both companies were banned from FDC investments as of May 15, there is no recent mention of the Marathon Petroleum Corporation in which FDC invested 244.600 euros by December 2016 and which is not included in the FDC’s latest exclusion list.

Luxembourg’s pension reserve is the latest local institution to divest funds from companies involved in the US pipeline affair, after Dutch financial services ING as well as BNP Paribas stopped their investments in March and April.

Local Native American communities have opposed the pipeline since 2014, with the Meskwaki and several Sioux tribes warning that water streams in the area would be contaminated and sacred burial grounds threatened.

Local Native American communities have opposed the pipeline since 2014, with the Meskwaki and several Sioux tribes warning that water streams in the area would be contaminated and sacred burial grounds threatened.
Photo: AFP

No transparency, no public debate 

According to a statement by the “No Dakota Access Pipeline” initiative in Luxembourg, local activists welcome FDC’s decision to ban investments in companies related to the Dakota pipeline, but are calling for more transparency and communication from the pension fund which offered no public statements or explanations for their decision.

Activists are demanding a public debate on the matter, involving members of the Parliament, and argue that the public appeal will continue until the FDC bans all its investments in companies violating human rights or breaching international environment standards.

According to the FDC website, since May Luxembourg’s pension reserve fund has stopped investing in a number of companies accused of poor labour standards or child labour, illegal exploitation of natural resources or supporting nuclear weapon development.

When contacted by Luxemburger Wort, the FDC was not immediately available for comment.  

About the Dakota Access Pipeline

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1.886 km-long underground oil pipeline set to carry crude oil across four US states, from North Dakota to Iowa, and has drawn widespread criticism for its negative impact on the environment. 

Learning about the plans to build the pipeline in 2014,  local Native American communities have opposed the pipeline ever since, with the Meskwaki and several Sioux tribes warning that water streams in the area would be contaminated and sacred burial grounds threatened. 

The cause has attracted protesters from around the world, with Norway’s largest financial services group DNB, Nordic financial group Nordea, the Dutch ABN Amro, Germany’s Bayern LG and Credit Suisse withdrawing their investments over the last few months.

In late 2016, the Obama administration halted the construction on the pipeline, ordering a full environmental review of the project, but in January newly-elect President Trump used executive authority to revive it.

The $3.8 billion project began commercial service on June 1.

(Roxana Mironescu, roxana.mironescu@wort.lu, +325 49 93 748)  

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