RI Briefing, January 5: Climate Bonds Initiative gets funding boost

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

The Climate Bonds Initiative, the global network acting as a catalyst for climate bonds, has secured funding for its project to develop an international standards and certification scheme. The first standard, for wind energy-linked bonds, is expected the end of March, with an energy efficiency standard to follow. Blog post

Executives at some of the leading UK banks, including Barclays, HSBC and RBS, are reported to be in discussion with institutional investors, trying to sign off on a road map for executive compensation in 2011 based on customer satisfaction or capital adequacy, according to The Observer newspaper.

Brazilian exchange the BM&FBOVESPA has begun calculating its new corporate governance index. The Corporate Governance Trade Index covers shares of firms that have voluntarily adopted corporate governance standards. The index components will be updated every four months. Release

The Korea Investment Corp., the $29.6bn sovereign fund, has made an investment of around C$100m in Osum Oil Sands Corp. Osum is a privately held Alberta-based company providing “environmentally responsible in situ recovery technologies within Canada’s oil sands and carbonates”. Announcement

New Mexico’s $14bn State Investment Council is looking at investing in forestry as part of a wide-ranging review, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The SIC received a presentation from Gary Combs, vice chairman of timberland investment firm Campbell Group, in December, according to meeting agendas.

A draft Corporate Governance Code for listed companies has been released by Greece’s Hellenic Federation of Enterprises. Using the “comply or explain” model, it sets out best practice in board composition, remuneration and disclosure. Link

KPA Pension, the SEK58.7bn (€6.5bn) Swedish public pensions company which majors on ethical investments, has been found guilty of publishing misleading advertising. The Swedish Advertising Ombudsman found that two TV commercials implied that by not investing in certain companies and activities, investors were able to stop unwanted corporate activity. KPA is owned by Folksam and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. Link (Swedish)*Securities services* giant the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation is to split the roles of chairman and chief executive, citing it as a “best of breed” standard approved by regulators, policy makers and governance experts. A new chairman will be recruited to work alsongide current CEO Donald Donahue. Release

India’s Bombay Stock Exchange has launched a Shariah-compliant index, the BSE TASIS SHARIAH 50 Index, with advisory firm Taqwaa Advisory and Shariah Investment Solutions. It “will give Islamic and other socially responsible investors another means to access the Indian market and will help attract pools of capital to India from the Gulf, Europe, and Southeast Asia,” said the exchange. Release

French finance house Natixis has adopted the Equator Principles, the global standard for managing social and environmental risk in project financing. Natixis, the corporate, investment and financial services arm of Groupe BPCE, is already a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Announcement

Canadian banks are facing various shareholder proposals from asset management firm IA Clarington Inhance relating to how their financing of oil and gas projects impacts indigenous peoples. The banks being targeted are the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Royal Bank of Canada and the Toronto Dominion Bank. Link

CalPERS, the $221bn California Public Employees’ Retirement System, says it is planning to file shareowner proposals on the majority vote issue at computer giant Apple, mortgage-backed securities firm Annaly Capital Management, finance firm BB&T Corp. and apparel company V.F. Corp. The fund had initially asked 58 US companies to voluntarily adopt a majority vote rule in place of a plurality policy – 20 of them have now committed to the standard. CalPERS announcement

Corporate directors argue that shareholders should have no say on chief executive pay, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2010 annual survey of corporate directors. More than three-quarters of board members quizzed said shareholders should have no say in CEO remuneration, according to the report.