Petrobras and Pemex: Putting ESG analysis in the oil mix
Undoubtedly, oil poses more than a few headaches for ESG investors. Besides the obvious high carbon content of petroleum products, the industry as a whole has accrued a reputation as risky across a range of ESG measures. These include: environmental preservation, workers’ health and safety, executive pay and, as demonstrated by the Petrobras scandal, political corruption. Yet in spite of – or perhaps because of – its blatant shortcomings, the oil industry attracts long-term investors who are prepared to engage on ESG matters. Despite rising sales of electric cars and the risk of fossil-fuel deposits becoming stranded assets, the oil industry is not disappearing any time soon. According to OPEC, global oil demand should increase until at least 2040. (see figure 1). That said, even if OPEC’s own growth expectations of 109m barrels of daily intake by 2040 prove to be overly optimistic, engagement on ESG factors – including climate change scenarios - will remain as important as ever.