RI Briefing, August 31: Denmark’s Codan launches CSR measurement project

RI’s regular round-up of responsible investing news

Danish insurer Codan has begun a pilot project to measure the impact of its corporate sustainability initiatives. The company, part of Royal & Sun Alliance, has teamed up with the corporate-academic group GOLDEN (Global Organizational Learning and Development Network) run by Milan’s Bocconi University. “We will also assess whether the GOLDEN project will give us new knowledge which we have not already collected through our internal and external auditing and reporting,” said Codan’s CSR Manager Dorte Eckhoff. Link

Investors have welcomed reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission is pressing oil and gas companies to provide greater disclosure about the financial risks and environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). It comes after pressure from the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). “As shareholders, we laud the SEC for taking this important step to protect investors,” said Larisa Ruoff, Director of Shareholder Advocacy for ICCR member Green Century Capital Management. Link

The economics committee of the lower house of the Swiss parliament has rejected an amendment to force domestic banks to cap bonuses to no more than half of fixed salaries, according to a Reuters report. The committee said the FINMA watchdog already had procedures in place to ensure bonuses don’t encourage risk-taking.

Executive Order 13583, establishing a coordinated government-wide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the federal workforce, was signed by President Obama on August 18. The government “must continue to challenge itself to enhance its ability to recruit, hire, promote, and retain a more diverse workforce” it states.

Male executives in the UK are paid more than £10,000 (€11,282) than their female counterparts, according to a survey from the Chartered Management Institute. “Businesses are contributing to the persistent gender pay gap and alienating top female employees by continuing to pay men and women unequally,” said the CMI. “This kind of bad management is damaging UK businesses and must be addressed.”Petercam Institutional Asset Management, part of the Brussels-based group with €14.7bn in assets under management, has signed up to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. It brings to four the number of Belgian PRI signatories. Among other new signatories are certification firm Ethics SA (Switzerland), Platypus Asset Management (Australia) and Garanti Asset Management of Turkey.
The UK’s BT Pension Scheme, Co-operative Group Pension Scheme (PACE), and F&C Asset Management Ltd. Pension Plan each achieved Platinum ranking in UKSIF’s 2011 “Responsible Business: Sustainable Pension” report, giving three funds at this highest ranking, up from only one in 2009. Of the 32 responding funds with a responsible investment policy, one in four achieved one of the two highest rankings (Platinum and Gold), up from one in eight in 2009 and one in eleven in 2007. Nearly one third of funds said they used specialist mandates to implement their responsible investment policy, twice as many as in 2009. Website
Sustainable ratings agency Oekom has called for the global pharmaceutical industry to adopt a series of measures to improve sustainability. They include more transparent engagement, marketing restrictions and cutting the risks of testing drugs in emerging countries. Oekom’s latest industry analysis evaluated 76 firms according to environmental and social criteria.

The UK is considering launching ultra-long-50-year index-linked government bonds (gilts) following support for the idea from institutional investors. The Debt Management Office said investors backed the plan at its most recent quarterly meeting.

Sustainable banking group Triodos says its funds under management, mostly comprising investment funds managed by Triodos Investment Management, grew to €2.1bn during the first six months of the year. Overall, fund entrusted to group rose 4% to €5.8bn. Announcement