RI Briefing, August 19: LD Invest, Ceres/INCR, CalPERS, Istanbul SE

RI’s regular round-up of responsible investment stories

LD Invest A/S, the asset manager owned by Denmark’s LD pension fund, is among new signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Other newcomers include Turkey-focused governance advisor Illac, Australian real estate firm Resolution Capital and Geneva-based commodities house INOKS Capital. UNPRI

Investors with assets of more than $2.5trn have called on oil and gas companies to disclose their spill prevention and response plans for offshore oil operations. Members of the Ceres/Investor Network on Climate Risk wrote to management at 26 global energy companies. Link

CalPERS, the $209bn California Public Employees’ Retirement System, has hailed the success of its engagement with companies – the “CalPERS Effect” – on its annual Focus List. The fund said it has “significantly improved stock performance over the past 23 years”. Release

The Istanbul Stock Exchange has started work on a Sustainability Index project with Turkey’s Business Council for Sustainable Development, SAM Group, Hicks and SinCo. The index should be completed by the last quarter of 2011. Announcement

Religious institutions find it difficult to invest responsibly alongside a strategy that fits their beliefs. That is the finding of new research from the International Interfaith Investment Group 3iG, Spain’s ESADE business school and the Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in Belgium.

The $44bn Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (Mass. PRIM) will be required to divest from companies involved in the oil industry in Iran, according to new state legislation. It will also have to hire an independent firm to identify all companies in which it has holdings.The Universities Superannuation Scheme spends more on public relations than responsible investment consultants, according to its annual accounts. USS had a bill for £131,000 (€160,000) for PR in the year to March 31 2010. During the same period, it spent £93,000 on RI consultants – although that was up from the prior year’s £46,000.

CalSTRS and Relational Investors are seeking seats on the board of Occidental Petroleum, according to a letter they wrote to the board last month listing “patently inexcusable” failings.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore will respond shortly to the consultation on Corporate Governance Regulations and Guidelines for local banks and life insurers, according to Managing Director Heng Swee Keat. The consultation was issued in March. Link

Massey Energy Co. has made a series of corporate governance enhancements in the wake of investor pressure over an accident which claimed 29 lives at its Upper Big Branch mine in April.

Domini Social Investments has reached an agreement with US steelmaker Nucor over forced labour in its Brazilian pig iron supply chain. It follows a three-year engagement. Link

Massachusetts pension fund Brockton Contributory Retirement has sued former Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd and the HP board in the wake of Hurd’s resignation. Separately, Walden Asset Management filed a resolution seeking the separation of the CEO and chair roles at HP. Link

New South Wales’ A$6bn (€4.2bn) Australian Local Government Superannuation Scheme has awarded a $50m mandate to environmental asset manager Impax Asset Management. Separately, LGS is advertising a job vacancy for a Sustainability Manager.