Fidelity Divests From Sudan-Linked PetroChina


Clearly, the world's most severe climate change is only one of the effects of oil use on Africa. Concern over China's oil investment in genocide-wracked Sudan has led Fidelity Investment, the world's largest mutual fund company, to drop almost all of its US stock in PetroChina. That company's a subsidiary of state-owned China National Petroleum Corp, the country's largest oil and gas company, which owns the largest portion of the consortium that dominates Sudan's oil industry along with other foreign investors. It's a victory for those being killed under Khartoum's watch--and a powerful reminder of the power of web-linked grassroots campaigns everywhere. The coalition that's been pushing Fidelity and other companies to to divest from PetroChina because of its parent company's business in Sudan began by convincing Harvard University to divest in shares of Chinese oil companies in 2005. Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway are also targets of the campaign. China and PetroChina's response so far has been typically mild--gentle talks with Khartoum, the establishment of CSR programs. But with the company's need for investment and the country's eager image polishing ahead of the 2008 Olympics (which some A-listers have boycotted, replacing the Games' "Green" nickname with "Genocide"), the impact of divestment could be great, sending ripples across China's less-than-ethical boardrooms. For now, Fidelity's decision, which sent the stock price of PetroChina plummeting, is drawing crucial non-governmental attention to the genocide in Darfur. And it's reminding us that the true cost of oil is much, much higher than the number we see at the pump. :: FT via MSNBC. See also China's Big Oil Find

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