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Clean Investor, February 22: Co-op sets €1.2bn renewable energy investment target

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

The Co-operative, the UK mutual society whose asset management arm recently announced an environmental, social and governance (ESG) tie-up with private equity house KKR, is to raise its support for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects to £1bn (€1.2bn) from £400m by 2013. It will also introduce the world’s first ethically screened general insurance products for 2m policies. Announcement

The £3.6bn (€4.3bn) London Pension Fund Authority has made a £10m commitment to the Foresight Environmental Infrastructure Fund, a public-sector initiative including bodies such as the Mayor of London’s office and the European Investment Bank. The Foresight fund aims to raise about £100m from the public and private sector to build and manage waste installations in London.

Pension, insurance, high net worth and sovereign wealth assets will be needed to support the global green economy in coming decades. That’s one of the key conclusions of a new report – Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication – from the UN Environment Programme.

A suite of environmental tracking indices is to be launched by non-profit group EIO, the Environmental Investment Organisation. EIO, which has a marketing deal with index firm ECPI, aims to enable investors “to play a leading role in tackling climate change”. Link

Wind power generation and mineral rights provide “opportunities to achieve a higher and better use” of timber and farmland assets, according to Gary Bader, Chief Investment Officer of the $18.9bn (€13.9bn) Alaska Retirement Management Board. According to meeting minutes, the ARMB is “acquiring substantial land across the nation” through its timberland and farmland program.
It seems 2011 will be a record year for shareholder engagement in the US energy sector, according to the Investor Network on Climate Risk. There have been 66 climate and energy related resolutions with 41 coal, electric power and oil companies in the proxy season so far – 50% up on the 44 resolutions last year. Link

CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, has made a €30m commitment to support renewable power, energy efficiency businesses and products that cut greenhouse gas emissions. It is backing two investment funds, Interact Climate Change Facility (ICCF) and the Renewable Energy Asia Fund (REAF).Clean energy investor Matrix Group has suspended the launch of two clean energy venture capital trusts (VCTs) following the announcement of a government review into solar feed-in-tariffs (FITs). The VCTs, unveiled in January, had already £10.5m of commitment. Link

A new report has called for the creation of “exchange rates” for biodiversity credits to assist in attracting investment to a “deeper and more liquid market”. The report Habitat banking: scaling up private investment in the protection and restoration of our natural world was prepared by Climate Change Capital and consultancy Eftec.

Germany, Poland and the UK have informed the European Commission that they intend to opt out of the planned common platform for auctioning emission allowances for the third phase of the EU Emissions Trading System starting in 2013. Each will instead appoint its own auction platform. Link

The NZ$18.47bn (€10.3bn) New Zealand Superannuation’s timber allocation has fallen to 6.5% of its total portfolio as at the end of January – against a 7.6% allocation at the same time in 2010. The portfolio currently stands at NZ$1.2bn. Report

MetLife, the insurance giant with some $35bn in annual revenues, has partnered with BP Solar on the 32MW Long Island Solar Farm project in New York State. “In addition to aligning strongly with our high quality investment philosophy, this project also enables us to further our commitment to supporting efforts that truly drive sustainability,” said MetLife.

EIF Renewable Energy Holdings, controlled by the $15bn Energy Investors Funds private equity firm, has acquired US landfill gas-to-energy firm Innovative Energy Systems. EIF Renewable now holds the rights to 45 landfill energy projects in 16 US states. Link

Latest disclosures

Toronto-based asset manager Sprott Inc. has disclosed an 8.5% holding in Vancouver-based Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. The company develops geothermal energy projects in Nevada and Oregon.

Morgan Stanley has disclosed a 5.5% holding of JA Solar Holdings, the Shanghai-based but NASDAQ-listed solar technology firm.

Invesco, the Atlanta-based asset manager with $616.5bn under management, has disclosed a 4.8% stake in FuelCell Energy. The NASDAQ-listed firm develops “ultra clean” stationary fuel cell power plants.