The Stream, November 21: Investors Take Action For Water

The Global Rundown

The largest bank in Norway sold off its assets in companies involved with the Dakota Access oil pipeline, citing concerns about protests over water quality and sacred cultural sites. Meanwhile, dozens of investment companies called on four of the world’s biggest meat producers to address water pollution risks associated with their businesses. Officials in Bolivia made water rationing measures permanent in La Paz, where a drought has drawn down reservoir levels. Preliminary findings suggest that the highest levels of mercury contamination in Peru’s Amazon may be in communities upstream of gold mining operations. Millions more trees have died in California due to drought and beetle infestations, increasing fire risks. Flooding in New South Wales has spawned a massive wave of mosquitoes that could foster an outbreak of disease.

“Broad mismanagement of local water resources can lead to devastating regulatory, reputational, and litigation risks, weakening a company’s ability to operate profitably.” –Kristel Verhoef, active ownership specialist at the Netherlands-based fund and asset management company ACTIAM. A coalition of 45 institutional investors representing $1 trillion in assets sent letters today asking major meat producers — including Cargill, Inc., JBS, Perdue Farms, and Smithfield Foods — to address water pollution concerns. (Ceres)

By The Numbers

$3 million Amount of the investments Norway’s largest bank, DNB, held in companies involved in building the Dakota Access oil pipeline. The bank announced last week that it was selling those holdings in light of protests against the pipeline, many of which center on concerns about water quality. The Local 

Financiers Express Concern About Missouri River Pipeline Crossing. Circle of Blue


100-fold Increase in the number of mosquitoes in the central-west region of New South Wales due to flooding. Health officials said that many of the mosquitoes carry diseases and warned residents of potentially record-breaking rates of illness. Australian Associated Press

Science, Studies, And Reports

Communities upstream of gold mining activities in Peru’s Madre de Dios region may have some of the highest levels of mercury contamination, according to an unpublished map based on the preliminary findings of researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute. Mercury used to extract gold has long poisoned fish in the region’s rivers, and the studies and map seek to give officials a better idea of where people are most affected by the pollution. Guardian

An estimated 36 million more trees have died in California forests since May, according to a survey by the U.S. Forest Service. Hamstrung by drought and bark beetles, the dead trees could significantly increase the risk of major forest fires in the state. Associated Press

On The Radar

Water rationing measures in La Paz will continue indefinitely as Bolivia struggles with a deepening drought, officials announced over the weekend. All three of the major dams that supply the city with water are below 10 percent of capacity. Aljazeera