Goshen, Ind. – With millions of barrels of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Deep Horizon well 5,000 feet below the surface, concern about the impact of the disaster spread across the country.
Three weeks after the explosion that sank BP’s contracted drilling rig, MMA Praxis Mutual Fund’s full investment team met by phone with the Head of Social Policy and Sustainability in BP’s London office to receive an update on the company’s efforts in the Gulf and to express MMA Praxis’ concerns about what led to and will follow this disaster.
“Connecting directly to senior management in times like this is a critical part of our stewardship investing commitment,” said Chad Horning, MMA chief investment officer. “It’s important to engage management when we see things that trouble us, using our role as investors to encourage changes that are good for people, the planet, and the company’s long-term viability.”
MMA Praxis has been a long-time investor in BP, staying with the company through a number of troubling incidents, including an oil-pipeline spill on Alaska’s North Slope and an explosion at the company’s Texas City refinery that claimed 15 lives.
“BP’s reputation as a firm committed to the highest level of corporate social responsibility, particularly among socially concerned investors, has taken an incredible blow with this crisis,” said Mark Regier, director of stewardship investing for MMA, who arranged the call with BP. “The company had been responsive to investors and we believed that the proper corrective actions were being implemented. This crisis raises many new questions.”
“Providing clients diverse and competitive investment products means MMA Praxis is invested in more than 600 companies at any given time,” said David Gautsche, president of MMA Praxis Mutual Funds. “No company is perfect, but we do our best to understand what impact our investments have. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico truly rises to historic proportions. The question for us now is how we can be most responsible with this investment.”
“We believe that a company’s true character is often most visible during times of great stress,” said Regier. “MMA tends to respond to the entirety of a company’s polices, practices and activities – not just high profile incidents. We are constantly asking ourselves ‘what does this tell us about the company?’ and ‘are the right policies and changes being implemented?’”
MMA Praxis International Fund held 1.9 percent of BP as of March 31, 2010. MMA Praxis Intermediate Income Fund held 0.59 percent of BP as of March 31, 2010. Fund holdings are subject to change. To obtain holdings as of the most previous quarter, please visit www.mmapraxis.com.