RI Briefing, June 24: Calvert, Church of England, World Bank, Robeco, Russell

RI’s regular round-up of responsible investment stories.

US responsible investment funds house Calvert Investments dropped oil major BP from its Large-Cap Value Fund on June 21 in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP was not a holding in Calvert’s Signature portfolios, which permit investment only in companies which pass “each and every one” of its seven environmental, social and governance criteria. Meanwhile, Parker-Hannifin Corp. has been dropped from the Calvert Social Index as it no longer meets its weapons criteria. Link

The Church of England has approved a complete ban on investment in companies involved in the production of indiscriminate weapons. This includes companies involved in landmines, cluster munitions, nuclear weapons and the processing, supply or storage of weapons-grade nuclear fissile materials. Announcement

Russell Investments is to develop a new global series of benchmark environmental indices, screened for companies that are “are managing financial risk in a carbon-constrained environment”. The series is being developed with Australia-based research and advisory firm RepuTex. The aim is that the indices will form the basis for investable products. Release
Finnish investment bank Evli is signing up to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. It said: “There is a growing view among investment professionals that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG)issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios.” Release
The World Bank is reportedly considering issuing new carbon bonds after a gap of two years, according to a report in Point Carbon. The bank’s derivatives and structured finance head Ivan Zelenko is quoted saying the bank is in talks with a number of countries and banks about the new issue. Report

UN PRI signatory KBC Asset Management has sold its Dublin-based arm for €23.7m to Brussels-based holding company RHJ International. KBCAM Dublin has around E4bn in assets under management and specialises in environmental equities, dividend oriented equities and multi asset strategies. It will operate under RHJ’s Kleinwort Benson banner.

Robeco, the asset management arm of Dutch bank Rabobank has been recognised by ratings agency Fitch for “the successful integration of environmental, social and governance factors” into its investment processes. Overall, Fitch affirmed Robeco’s M2+ asset-manager rating. Link

The NASDAQ OMX Group has introduced two new Sharia-compliant indexes based on the NASDAQ-100 Index and the OMX Stockholm Benchmark Index. They were developed to meet increasing demand for a wider variety of Islamic investment opportunities, said NASDAQ. Announcement