As I’ve said to some of my readers already, I think there should be a global list of companies building or financing fossil fuel pipelines, given that we don’t need any more of them if we want the planet to survive. It should be made publicly available for free and equipped with tickers of the companies if they are public. There should also be a column for CUSIPs for all the securities issued by these entities or their majority owners (considering that even the nonpublic entities, such as state oil companies, may have owners who issue public securities, such as governments which issue sovereign bonds).

There could then be a campaign to encourage all investors to download the spreadsheet and check it against their portfolios and in some fashion engage the relevant companies and ask them to explain the moral justification for their actions. This is especially important for new pipeline construction. (You’d want to flag the the projects, if any, which were replacing soon-to-be retired pipelines, because their net effect on emissions is null. While this is still unfortunate, given the Global Climate Emergency, it places them as second-tier engagement priorities, below new construction, whose prevention is of the highest urgency).

I mention this idea in a forthcoming piece in Responsible Investor. But after thinking about it for a few days, I think that while this is a worthy project someone should do in order to generate a report and thought leadership about it, investors could also just ask ALL companies in relevant industries (largely extractives, banking and utilities) whether they are involved in any new pipeline construction. This could be the seed of an engagement protocol on climate for 2020, which could be finished much more quickly than a research report.

It further occurs to me that this is how research, disclosure and engagement often relate to each other in our field:  engagement elicits disclosure which can be the basis for research and analysis.

I wonder what others think about any and all of the above.