RI Briefing: January 19: Oil sands firms “poor” on pay and ESG risks

RI’s regular Wednesday round-up of resposible investing news

Canadian oil sands companies are doing a “poor job” of disclosing to investors how they use executive pay to help mitigate environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks, according to NEI Investments’ ESG Services arm. The comments from NEI, the former NorthWest & Ethical, come as Canadian firms face their first ‘say on pay’ advisory vote at their 2011 AGMs.

A group of asset management firms and civil society organisations representing a combined $20bn (€14.8bn) in assets have signed the New Haven Declaration on Corporate Financial Transparency. This calls on governments and multilateral institutions to establish a country-by-country financial reporting standard for multinational corporations. Declaration

Allianz Global Investors Investments Europe is now integrating the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment across its operations in Europe. The firm says it now has almost €10bn in socially responsible assets under management and advice.

A survey of global financial institutions has found that current climate change information is insufficient. The study – Advancing adaptation through climate information services – was prepared by the Climate Change Working Group of the UNEP FI and the Sustainable Business Institute.

Private equity giant Carlyle says it is committed to “thoroughly integrating” ESG factors into its investment practices and daily operations. The firm has released its first Corporate Citizenship Report. Release

Seventy-four US and European institutional investors, family offices and high net worth individuals have committed $31.8m to the final close of the Creation Investments Social Ventures Fund I, a global microfinance private equity fund managed by Chicago-based Creation. Link

A new working paper from the Harvard Business School has found that shareholder proxy access improves overall shareholder value. The authors base their findings on market moves around the legal challenge to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new proxy access rules mounted by business lobby groups. The paper is called Does Shareholder Proxy Access Improve Firm Value? Evidence from the Business Roundtable Challenge.The Christian Brothers Investment Services, the Catholic socially responsible investing specialist, has called attention to the role firms can play in combating human trafficking. “Businesses of all kinds need to be aware that human trafficking poses serious risks to a company’s reputation and bottom line,” said Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of SRI at CBIS.

Investor groups representing $14trn in assets are launching an international survey of investment practices relating to climate change. The poll by European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, the North American Investor Network on Climate Risk and Australia/New Zealand Investor Group on Climate Change is based on the European survey run by consulting firm Mercer for the IIGCC.

Canada’s SHARE, the Shareholder Association for Research and Education, has written to six resource extraction firms: IAMGOLD Corp., Inmet Mining, Nexen Inc., Teck Resources Ltd., TransCanada Corp and Yamana Gold Inc., requesting information about human rights issues. SHARE’s latest engagement report

Senior bondholders in banks should take losses on their holdings prior to a public bail-out, the European Commission has suggested. Draft proposals by Michel Barnier, the EU internal market commissioner, in response to the banking crisis, would make bondholders write down the value of their investments before taxpayers had to fund a bail-out.

Norway will later this month close a public consultation on whether to extend corporate social responsibility reporting requirements for companies under its Accounting Act. A Ministry of Finance working group completed an initial report in November last year and the consultation runs until January 28.

The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, the UK Church-based research and advocacy group, has become a registered charity. The ECCR’s more than 80 corporate members control and advise on more than £17.5bn of assets. Website

Sustainability Roundtable Inc., the US research and consulting company focused on sustainable real estate, has had a $1.2m investment from venture capital firm Navitas Capital and the Massachusetts Green Energy Fund. Website