Clean Investor, October 11: GRI proposes new sustainability reporting approach

RI’s regular round-up of clean investing news

The Global Reporting Initiative has proposed a new approach for developing sustainability reporting indicators to help companies report their impacts and reliance on ecosystem services. The GRI has put forward the idea in a new report – Approach for reporting on ecosystem services: Incorporating ecosystem services into an organization’s performance disclosure – with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEPWCMC) and consultancy CREM.

“The private sector can — and must — drive the energy revolution by investing in clean energy solutions now,” says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He was speaking at the Energy for All: Financing Access for the Poor conference in Oslo this week.

There’s been a boardroom shake-up at clean energy investment firm Trading Emissions. The company said chairman Neil Eckert and three directors are to step down following “consultation with certain shareholders”. It also warned it would pass on a full-year dividend amid lower carbon markets. Invesco holds 33.5% of the company, with other stakes held by Laxey Partners, Jupiter Asset Management and F&C Asset Management.

The UK’s Carbon Trust has announced that it is the first organisation to offer a service certifying to the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s new international standard for measuring and reporting product carbon footprints. The new service is called the GHG Protocol Product Lifecycle Standard.

The SAM Sustainable Water Fund, which is 10 years old, has recorded returns for the decade of 24.23%, which the manager says corresponds to an annualized excess return of 2.42% over its reference index, the MSCI World. The fund was launched in 2001 as one of the first theme funds to recognize the growing importance of water scarcity.

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is collaborating with leading financial institutions on a “potentially transformational” project to investigate the link between ecological risk and country level risk in sovereign bonds. It’s holding a launch event on October 17 in Washington.Green bonds. Investors will shortly be able to check whether so-called green bonds support agreed CO2 reduction targets with the launch of the Climate Bond Standard in London on November 24. UK Climate Change Minister Greg Barker will be present at the launch. An unspecified bank is close to issuing a new $300 million green bond denominated in Australian dollars based on the new green standard. Compliant assets will include wind farms and solar energy plants. Licensed third party verifiers will review proposed bonds to confirm their compliance. Some $12 billion of green bonds backed by investments related to climate change solutions have already been issued into the market.

A recent report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) argues that investing in forests in Indonesia is a “win-win” for communities, the climate and orang-utan conservation. The study The Orang-utan and Economics of Forest Conservation in Sumatra estimates the Sumatra forests may be worth up to a present value of $22,000 a hectare at current carbon prices (range $7,420-22,090).

The U.S. Green Building Council and Environmental Defense Fund, the NGO, have launched a partnership to educate, promote and drive participation in green commercial building projects. The Demand Response Partnership Program (DR Partnership Program) will partner with selected utilities, solution providers and program sponsors. Link
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator has its official launch today (October 11). Its mission is to “accelerate the development of clean technology businesses and to create sustainable, well-paying jobs” in the city.

The second annual State of the Forest Carbon Markets report has been published. It looks at the trends in global transactions of emissions reductions generated from forest carbon projects; it estimates the total value of transactions in 2010 was $178m. Link

A new academic book on climate change and its impact on society has been published. The 864-page Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society has been edited by John Dryzek, Richard Norgaard and David Schlosberg and analyses how climate change “affects human systems, and how societies can, do, and should respond”. It is available here