Daily ESG Briefing: Investors get ‘taxonomy certification’ for wind farm

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Foresight Group, the UK-based investor, has attained EU Taxonomy validation from Aardvark Certification Limited for a 231MW greenfield onshore wind project in Sweden. The renewable energy specialist acquired the wind farm through Foresight Energy Infrastructure Partners alongside a syndicate of European Institutional Investors in April of this year. 

€23bn Dutch fund manager Blue Sky Group, which runs pension money for KLM and Total, has appointed Minerva Analytics to provide its proxy voting services. The UK advisor and ESG data provider won a tender provide ESG research on individual investee companies and advise on the role of securities lending activity within portfolio decisions. Mario Hooghiemstra, ESG Officer at Blue Sky Group said it has “paid a lot of attention to the possibility of developing our own flexible voting policy, into which we can integrate sustainability factors, whilst also having the ability to let our clients have their own say on their voting policies,” during the selection process.

Canada’s Task Force for a Resilient Recovery has recommended C$50bn of green government spending as part of the Covid-19 recovery. It includes a proposal to spend more than C$27bn retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient, and pushing green vehicles, renewable energy and natural capital. The taskforce includes Barbara Zvan, who this week took the reins at a new Canadian pension fund; Andy Chisholm, who is on the Board of Directors at the Royal Bank of Canada; and Don Forgeron, CEO of Insurance Bureau of Canada. 

Think-tank Ember has revealed that renewable energy sources overtook fossil fuels as the EU’s main generators of electricity for the first time in the first half of 2020. Ember’s new report found that in the first half of the year, renewables generated 40% of the EU's electricity, compared to 34% generated by fossil fuels, marking “a symbolic moment in the transition of Europe's electricity sector". The report is available here.

UK-based law firm and NGO ClientEarth has won the right to appeal a High Court judgment which approved the construction of a new gas plant in North Yorkshire, England, by Drax Power. The court ruling made in May sided with a UK Government decision to approve what would be Europe’s largest gas plant. ClientEarth’s lawyers claim the decision by the government was unlawful. 

The PRI has called on institutions, investors, policymakers and companies to come together to protect Brazil’s “people, environment and profit”. In its latest blog exploring how responsible investors can drive real-world impact in Brazil, the PRI encourages engagement with companies on the risks of deforestation, soy and cattle supply chains and human rights abuses. It is available to read here.

Bayer AG has launched a pilot program that will pay farmers in the US and Brazil for capturing carbon in cropland soils. The company will enrol around 1,200 row crop farmers in the first season and expects to invest $5.76m over three years.