“But investors do need to get some comfort that the company is trying to factor carbon price in its models. ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch-Shell, BP, Total and Statoil have disclosed the carbon price assumptions they factor into all capital expenditure modelling.” Hartnett adds: “As it is, we interpret the responses from Woodside as that it is factoring in a zero-dollar carbon price in the base case for committing to these highcarbon emitting, long-term projects. “LGS would like to see further information from Woodside, as we forecast that there will be a carbon price of some sort over this period that has the potential to materially impact investments in resource sector companies.” The last word belongs to urbane industry observer, Dean Paatsch, founding CEO of AIST and former CEO of RiskMetrics’ governance service in Australia. Ruminating on his years in the industry and on the almost glacial rate of shareholder activism, Paatsch ruefully concludes that the industry’s attitude to ESG and risk transparency is “blighted by indifference. It’s ‘other people’s money’, after all”. He says super funds will have more credibility, and be more effective in remediating ESG risks and improving transparency within companies if they held themselves to the same standards. “It’s simply not sustainable for super funds that espouse – and market – themselves on the principles of mutuality to be indifferent to the expectations of accountability to their members,” he says. Those expectations already exist, he says, citing ongoing debates in WA and Victoria about the salaries paid to public-sector fund executives, particularly at WA fund GESB and the Victorian Funds Management Corporation. “The furore in WA and Victoria over awarding bonuses in a time of falling investment returns should be a reason why you should be more transparent, rather than a reason why not,” he says. If super funds led by example in the critical area of ESG, their calls for greater integrity in corporate Australia should have more gravitas. It’s time to show, not tell, he concludes.

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