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RI ESG Briefing, April 17: Goldcorp facing shareholder resolution on Marlin mine

RI ESG Briefing, April 17: Goldcorp facing shareholder resolution on Marlin mine

The round-up of ESG news

Environmental

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas says it has reached a global installed capacity of 50GW. It said the figure amounts to more than 46,000 turbines, close to a fifth of total global capacity, and generates enough clean energy to power 19m European households, saving 55m tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

The Clean Development Mechanism, the market-based greenhouse gas emission reduction tool, has reached its 4,000th registered project – a wind power project in Maharashtra state, India. There are now CDM projects registered in some 74 countries. Link

Bunge, the US-listed agri-business firm, has completed its previously announced acquisition of environmental investment firm Climate Change Capital. It named Alfred Evans, who has run Bunge’s emissions business since 2005, as CEO. Co-founder James Cameron will take over from former BP executive Vivienne Cox as Chairman. Announcement

Social

Recently listed commodities giant Glencore has issued a statement in response to a BBC documentary and news report purportedly showing children as young as ten working in the company-owned Tilwezembe mining concession. Glencore said it refuted the claims, saying: “Sustainability is an integral part of everything we do. We have created a framework to balance social, environmental, ethical and commercial interests at every level of our Group which we call Glencore Corporate Practice.”

Dexia Asset Management has weighed in to the debate on a European financial transactions tax (FTT), saying it will have little impact. “Even if a similar tax at European level were to be implemented by 2014, it is currently foreseen as moderate and manageable, as in many countries today,” Dexia said.

Poland’s Responsible Business Forum has published its latest annual report on Responsible Business in Poland. The 10th edition of the report summarizes companies’ involvement in responsible business principles and offers an overview of other initiatives in this area. Link

Governance

Goldcorp, the Toronto-listed mining concern, is facing a shareholder resolution on the controversial Marlin mine at its annual meeting in Ontario on April 26. It has been tabled by the Loretto Benevolent Institution and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Among other things, it calls on Goldcorp to set aside an “independently guaranteed financial surety” to go with the estimated $49m cost of closing the mine. The company is advising shareholders to vote against the proposal, calling it “incomplete, inaccurate, and biased”.

Ethos, the Swiss proxy firm, is advising opposing the remuneration report and the discharge of directors at UBS, at the bank’s annual meeting on May 3. “The total (as well as the variable) remuneration of executives is too high,” it says. It was also critical of the CHF4m sign-on bonus for new chairman Axel Weber. Pension fund-owned Ethos urged shareholders to “a signal to the board of directors regarding the remuneration system and the inadequate system of internal control”.

The AFL-CIO, the umbrella federation for US labour unions, has revised its 2012 proxy voting ‘key votes list’. It is available via this link

CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, is asking fellow shareholders to support its proposal on majority voting for director elections at US industrial group Graco Inc. A similar proposal gained more than 70% support last year. The Minneapolis-based firm holds its meeting on April 20. Link

SHARE, Canada’s Shareholder Association for Research and Education, has released its Model Proxy Voting Guidelines for 2012. The guidelines, available here, have been developed for use by Canadian pension funds.

New research from campaign group FairPensions has found that insurance companies are taking little action on responsible investment. Its Stewardship Lottery report surveyed the 10 largest contract-based pension providers in the UK and found that most are failing to regularly monitor external fund managers on their stewardship of investee companies.

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