ESG Briefing: Launch event for new UK corporate governance hub postponed over coronavirus

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The launch event for the IoD Centre for Corporate Governance, due to take place on March 16, has been postponed because of the coronavirus, according to a LinkedIn post by Roger Barker, Head of Corporate Governance at the Institute of Directors business group. But he said the virus would not stop the work of the Centre moving forward. “We have established an amazing Advisory Board, and three working groups have already started their work – on sustainable capitalism, stakeholder governance and the implications of AI for corporate governance.” The centre will act as a hub for discussion of corporate governance and related ESG. 

RPMI Railpen (Railpen), which manages £30bn (€33.9bn) of assets on behalf of the UK’s railways pension schemes, has acquired an operational wind farm on the west coast of Scotland, in its second direct investment in the UK renewable energy sector. Railpen purchased 90% of the 46MW Carraig Gheal Wind Farm in Argyll and Bute from renewable energy developer GreenPower International. Terms were not disclosed. Railpen was advised by Pinsent Masons, Ernst & Young, Everoze and Willis Towers Watson.

Legal & General has announced the development of its Climate Change Risk Framework with management consultancy and transition modelling specialists Baringa Partners and XDI, a specialist in climate and physical risk analysis. L&G said that, for the first time, it has been able to assess both the climate risk, and temperature alignment, of the assets on its own balance sheet and to report on these risks in its new TCFD report.

Global coal developers risk wasting more than $600bn because it is already cheaper to generate electricity from new renewables than from new coal plants in all major markets, warns a new report from Carbon Tracker. It also found that over 60% of global coal power plants are generating electricity at higher cost than it could be produced by building new renewables.

The Netherlands: ten large pension funds, including civil service scheme ABP, healthcare fund PFZW and the Rabobank Pensioenfonds, are working with campaign groups and the government, are to encourage an unnamed palm oil producer and user to improve its ESG credentials, according to a report in IPE. It added the move follows the local covenant for international socially responsible investment (IMVB) that was signed by 81 schemes in 2018.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has reportedly “rebelled” over pay at chipmaker Qualcomm. The Financial Times said BlackRock, a major holder of the company, was critical of a $3.6m bonus awarded to CEO Steve Mollenkopf and other executives after settling a legal battle with Apple last year. The giant investor voted against the so-called say on pay resolution at the company’s AGM this week – which the FT said played a “decisive role” in ensuring that Qualcomm lost its non-binding vote on executive pay.