Dominion Agrees with Investors to Safely Manage Methane Leaks Ahead of Vote at AGM
Richmond, Virginia – May 9, 2018 – In response to a shareholder resolution filed by corporate responsibility group As You Sow and sustainable investment manager Arjuna Capital, which was set to go to a vote at Dominion’s annual general meeting (AGM) today, Dominion published its methane leakage rates and committed to report to investors annually on these critical metrics. The resolution highlights the need for Dominion to responsibly manage its methane emissions, particularly storage operations with wells similar to the well that blew out in Aliso Canyon in 2015, releasing over 100,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere. This was the second year that the groups have placed a methane-focused resolution on Dominion’s proxy statement.
Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas with roughly 86 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Investors are increasingly concerned that energy companies control methane emissions as an urgent, effective means of reducing climate risks and improving operational efficiency.
Dominion’s 2017 Methane Management Report responded to shareholder concern by providing greater detail on how the company manages methane storage. Last week, Dominion further complied with the proposal by releasing an update providing methane leakage rates (otherwise known as methane emissions intensity) for each of its segments, including its production, storage, and distribution systems. Such leak rates enable investors to compare company emissions and efficiency regardless of operational scale. As a result, As You Sow and Arjuna Capital have withdrawn the proposal.
“We commend Dominion for listening to its stakeholders and continuing to improve the company’s methane management and reporting,” said Lila Holzman, Energy Program Manager at As You Sow. “This enhanced disclosure is an important step that must now be followed by intentional target setting to ensure future methane reductions.”
“Leaking gas is lost revenue –it’s bad for investors and it’s bad for the climate,” noted Natasha Lamb, Managing Partner, Arjuna Capital. “The well blowout at Aliso Canyon is a cautionary tale to natural gas companies on the high stakes of methane mismanagement. This is particularly true for Dominion who controls the third largest volume of gas in the country. Dominion’s new commitments are significant steps toward improving operational efficiency, mitigating climate risk, and improving safety.”
As You Sow is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. See our resolutions here.
Arjuna Capital is a registered investment advisor, specializing in sustainable and impact investing. www.arjuna-capital.com.