Clean Investor, August 9: Trillium, Calvert muster shareholders for climate motion at US food group

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

Trillium Asset Management and Calvert Investments have written to fellow shareholders in J.M. Smucker & Co. calling on their support for a climate change resolution they have tabled for the US food company’s annual meeting on August 17. The investors are calling for the board to report how it will address temperature changes, changes in rainfall patterns, and the firm’s impact on coffee farming families in its supply chain. They add that proxy firm Institutional Shareholder Services has recommended backing the proposal. J.M. Smucker proxy

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which represents some €6.5trn of assets under management, has questioned the level of demand for green bonds. “While we support the creation of the GIB [Green Investment Bank] and other similar European initiatives in principle, we are concerned that institutional investor appetite for green bonds at this time may be overstated.” The IIGCC said reports that pension funds would allocate significant capital to the bonds “do not adequately reflect how institutional investors make investment decisions and allocate capital and do not address certain investors’ misgivings about the generic use of the term ‘green bond’. The comments come in an IIGCC position paper on green bonds.

Credit Suisse has highlighted the potential growth of emission control systems in the battle against air pollution. “By 2015, annual sales of emission control systems are likely to increase to €104bn from €68bn in 2010, representing a growth rate of around 53%,” says Pierre-Yves Bolinger, of the bank’s Equity Research team. Link

Private equity giant Blackstone – whose clients include global institutional investors such as public and corporate pension funds, academic endowments and charitable institutions – has announced that its WindMW GmbH arm plans to invest a combined €2.5bn in German offshore windfarms. This includes €1.2bn for the North Sea Meerwind project and an additional €1.3bn Nördlicher Grund scheme.

Canberra-based Fund manager Australian Ethical has celebrated the first year of its Climate Advocacy Fund, during which the fund proposed environmental resolutions to four companies – Aquila Resources, Paladin Energy, Oil Search and Woodside Petroleum – with some success.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the US standard-setting and regulatory support organisation has set up a new Climate Change and Global Warming Working Group under chairman Mike Kreidler, the insurance regulator of Washington state. Link to Ceres*Norges Bank Investment Management*, the manager of the NOK3.1trn (€385bn) Government Pension Fund, is to host a seminar at the World Water Week in Stockholm on August 24. The topic is “Water Intensive Companies: The Benefits of Managing and Reporting on Water-Related Risks”. Among the speakers are: Magdalena Kettis, NBIM’s Head of Environmental and Social Issues; Marcus Norton, Head of Investor CDP and CDP Water Disclosure; Marc Robert, Chief Operating Officer, Water Asset Management; Sasja Beslik, Head of Responsible Investment, Nordea; Marc-Olivier Buffle, Senior Analyst Industrials & Water Sector, Sustainable Asset Management.
Barclays Natural Resource Investments, the arm of Barclays Capital with some $1.7bn of committed capital, has made a “significant” investment in US solar energy firm K Road Power Holdings. “As a part of the partnership, BNRI will make a substantial commitment to fund the continued development, construction and operations of K Road’s utility scale solar power portfolio,” K Road said in a statement. Link

Henderson Global Investors has lifted its stake in Renewable Energy Holdings Plc, the AIM-listed investor in, and operator of, European wind power, to just over 11.1% – up from a 10.1% stake disclosed in June. Filing

The Canadian province of Québec is planning to put a carbon market in place by January 2012. Extra-financial strategy advisory firm Groupe Investissment Responsable (GIR) said: “Companies should therefore take the necessary measures to adapt to carbon markets as soon as possible, before regulation leaves them no choice.”

Consultants Acclimatise have launched an online climate change risk-screening tool – called Aware for Investments – to assist investors identify potential climate related risks to their portfolios. It’s available on the firm’s website on a subscription basis.

Indonesia: the Jakarta Futures Exchange is to launch sharia-backed commodity products next month, according to a Reuters report. The wire agency quoted a JFX official as saying the exchange plans to launch contracts for coffee, cocoa, crude palm oil and rubber at first. Energy products like coal; diesel oil and ethanol would follow.

The Chicago Climate Futures Exchange, the US emissions derivatives platform, is to be wound down by owner IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) in the first quarter of 2012, according to a market advisory. The exchange was launched in 2004. ICE acquired UK-listed Climate Exchange PLC in 2010 for some $600m.