A number of internationally-conscious investment companies are understood to be reviewing their relationship with FTI Consulting, a US advisory firm.
According to the Financial Times, this review originating followign reports in the American media that highlighted “controversial work” that FTI has done for the oil industry.
Among these, CDP, a non-profit organisation formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project which collects climate data from companies, has suspended all work with FTI Consulting until it completes an investigation on the media report.
“We are taking this very seriously,” an official speaking on behalf of the CDP told the Financial Times. “We will be reconsidering our relationship with FTI in light of this report.”
The New York Times had revealed that FTI Consulting has run a number of operations for oil groups that raised ethical red flags — including creating a fake Facebook profile to monitor activists’ activities and running industry-backed pro-fossil fuel campaigns with US-style names like “Texans for Natural Gas” and the “Main Street Investors Coalition”. These campaigns were meant to deceive the public into appearing to be grassroot community initiative setup by concerned citizens.
Groups such as Sustainalytics and CDP have become highly influential in recent years more investors have sought to measure the environmental, social and governance policies of companies and, increasingly, to direct their investment to those that achieve positive scores in this regard.
FTI said that the NYT report “grossly mischaracterised” the services it provides to the oil sector and added in a statement: “We are proud of and committed to our ESG and sustainability offering, which is led by a large group of diverse and multidisciplinary experts who provide highly effective counsel to clients in a myriad of industry sectors and countries around the world.”