Responsible Funds & Indices, March 8: Four companies deleted from FTSE4Good indices

The round-up of responsible funds & indices news


Four companies – Allied Materials, Micron Technology, Nobel Biocare and Mitsubishi Corp. – have been deleted from the FTSE4Good index series for a range of reasons. US industrial group Allied Materials and chipmaker Micron have not met human and labour rights standards. Nobel, the Zurich-based dental products firm, did not meet environmental management criteria. And Mitsubishi – Japan’s largest trading company – is out for not meeting climate change criteria. Twenty firms will join the indices, most notably perhaps UK defence firm Cobham. Link

Storebrand, the leading Norwegian insurer and asset manager, is to be removed from the Global Challenges Index (GCX), the German sustainable equity index created by ESG rating agency oekom and the Hanover bourse. The company has lost its ‘prime status’ as oekom says it has been reporting little about its efforts to make its financial operations sustainable. This is particularly true of its loan business as well as its industrial and liability insurance lines. Regarding Storebrand’s investing, oekom deems it broadly sustainable, although Storebrand was invested in firms involved in building illegal Israel settlements. Other deletions include solar company Conergy (market cap), Japanese automotive supplier Denso (labour rights) and Swedish property company JM (loss of ‘prime status’). Four firms are to be added: Italian gas firm Snam, UK building company Berkeley, US software firm Computer Associates and Italian traffic engineering company Ansaldo STS. Link

Exchange group NYSE Euronext and Bloomberg New Energy Finance have renamed their six-strong family of clean energy indices: from NYSE BNEF to NYSE Bloomberg – “to highlight more effectively the involvement of both NYSE and Bloomberg in this clean energy index series”. The indices are based on Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s database of organizations involved in clean energy and related sectors. The series covers wind, global energy smart technologies, solar energy and three regional indices.

ESG firm Sustainalytics has reported that the Jantzi Social Index (JSI) increased in value by 1.67% during February. During the same period, the S&P/TSX Composite Index increased by 1.26% and the S&P/TSX 60 Index increased by 1.65%. “Since inception on January 1, 2000 through February 28, 2013, the JSI has achieved an annualized return of 5.76%, while the S&P/TSX Composite and the S&P/TSX 60 had annualized returns of 5.63% and 5.39% respectively.”

‘Unlocking the mysteries of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index’ is the name of a webinar being organised by Corporate Citizenship, a global corporate responsibility and sustainability consultancy. It says: “It is the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) season again. Not listed last year? Worried about maintaining your position this year? Know you need to do more, but don’t know what or how? Our webinar will answer your questions.” The free event takes place on March 14. Link*Investment analysis firm CAMRADATA* has screened the FTSE 100 index, the main UK benchmark, for environmental, social and governance factors and found listed firms are less exposed to potential environmental issues such as pollution and water scarcity than the 1,000-plus companies in the comparative “world index”. But the FTSE 100 is more exposed to social and governance issues, with lower scores for a list of factors ranging from education and economic inequality to corruption and business rights. This can be attributed to the global reach of the companies’ commercial operations. The information comes in CAMRADATA’s ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Geographic Portfolio Analysis, which uses data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.


Sustainable banking specialist Triodos says the total assets under management of the investment funds run by Triodos Investment Management grew by 7% in 2012 to €2.2bn. “Triodos Fair Share Fund and Triodos Microfinance Fund experienced a strong growth of their total assets under management by respectively 24.7% and 30.7%,” it said, while Triodos Renewable Europe Fund grew 25.4%. The Triodos Sustainable Funds, which invest in listed companies, grew with 22.5% due to “a strong inflow of new investors and increase in share price”.

The Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund (HSRIF), which is managed by MBA students at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, has returned 25% over four years, according to a posting on the Network for Business Sustainability site. The fund grew out of a $1.2m donation to Haas’ Center for Responsible Business in 2007. The fund is run by six-12 students who have full responsibility for investment decisions, including researching companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.

The €40m Sycomore Selection Responsable fund from France-based fund firm Sycomore Asset Management is concentrating on consumer goods and avoiding large areas of the wider market, according to an interview with fund manager Lea Dunand-Chatellet in Citywire. Dunand-Chatellet runs the fund with co-manager Cyril Charlot, who is founding partner of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) signatory firm.