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Clean Investor, April 26: Business leaders back UK green bonds

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

Green Investment Bank bonds would be of “real benefit” to institutional investors, says the Confederation of British Industry, the corporate lobby group, in a new report. It added: “Green Investment Bank bonds could satisfy institutional investors’ demand for low-risk, long-run investments, while enabling them to participate in the types of investments which would traditionally be seen as too risky, given their capital intensive, illiquid and high-risk nature.”
A small proportion of FTSE 350 companies have sought quality assurance for the sustainability sections in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports, and many do not meet recognised standards, according to a report by Carbon Smart, the sustainability consultancy. Just 79 of the 350 included some kind of assurance comment for their 2010 CSR reports, only 66 of which were independent assurance statements.

A new £550m (€620.6m) green investment fund from the Carbon Trust and Siemens Financial Services UK has opened for business. The dedicated low carbon finance scheme is the first of its kind and will enable UK businesses to invest in cost effective energy efficiency equipment and other low carbon technologies, such as new efficient lighting and biomass heating. Link

Mission NewEnergy Ltd., the biodiesel producer and one of the world’s largest Jatropha plantation companies, has begun trading on the NASDAQ Global Market in an initial public offering. The firm has operations in Malaysia, India, Australia and North America and says it can produce 105m gallons of biodiesel a year. Announcement
Europe’s 300 biggest companies have been ranked according to greenhouse gas emissions and disclosure in the new ET Europe 300 Carbon Ranking from the Environmental Investment Organisation, a UK-based non-profit researcher. The ranking is based on Scope 1 and 2 emissions according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Among the findings, German power company E.ON is shown to be the largest absolute emitter for which GHG information is available, while Polish miner KGHM comes last in the ranking. In terms of company transparency and verification, Spain and Italy rank highest while Switzerland and France rank lowest. EIO launched the ET UK 100 Carbon Ranking in February this year. The ET UK 100 and ET Europe 300 are due to be released as ‘live’ indexes in mid May. Link*Total venture capital investment* in the environmental sector reached $2.7bn in the first quarter of the year, the highest quarterly investment during the last two years, according to VB Research. Solar was the largest sector for investment ($740m), ahead of green transportation ($429m) and energy efficiency ($394m). Larger private equity deals also flourished in the quarter, including the $1.1bn acquisition of the 400 MW Anholt offshore wind farm by PensionDanmark and PKA. VB said clean energy public market activity was being increasingly driven by China with almost $3bn raised on Chinese public markets during the first quarter of the year – around half of the total $5.9bn raised on public markets globally. Wind turbine manufacturer Sinovel’s $1.4bn IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange was the largest public market transaction in the first quarter of this year. Link

Citigroup says it “directed more than $5.67bn” towards sustainable investments in 2010. It cited a solar power project that will cut the cost of electricity by up to 15%, a US wind farm project that will cut 1m tons of CO2 and an IPO for China’s second largest wind turbine maker. Citi, in its 2010 Global Citizenship Report, said it has surpassed the halfway mark in its $50bn climate change initiative.

Swiss Exchange-listed waste-to-energy and carbon capture firm Global Natural Resources Holding Ltd. has been adjudged as bankrupt earlier this month, the exchange said. GNR had aimed to “create tailor made solutions for any community, industrial organization or municipality to make them energy independent”.

SEK3bn (€335m) Swedish state-owned venture capital investor Industrifonden has sold domestic cleantech firm TranSic – which develops technology for use in hybrid vehicles – to Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. Industrifonden had owned TranSic with Volvo Technology Transfer and Midroc New Technology. Announcement

Spain has overtaken Germany to become the leading European wind energy producer, according to the Spanish wind energy association AEE (Asociación Empresarial Eólica). “Even though Spain has less installed capacity, it generated more electricity from wind energy than Germany in 2010, which shows the good performance of the system,” the AEE said.