RI Briefing, June 9: Nordea, HESTA, NAPF, Network for Sustainable Financial Markets

RI’s regular round-up of the most important responsible investment news

Nordea’s Responsible Investments Committee has divested its dedicated RI funds and mandates from BP shares and also suspended further investments in the company for all its other funds. It said: “The environmental catastrophe in the Mexican Gulf is an extraordinary situation given the size of the spill, weak response from BP, criminal investigation towards the company as well as anticipated risk for other accidents.” Link

HESTA, the A$15bn (€10.4bn) Australian super fund for health and community service workers, has appointed Hermes Equity Ownership Services for voting and engagement services. HESTA, a signatory to the UNPRI, is Hermes’ second Australian client after VicSuper; EOS now has 20 clients and more than £65bn (€78.7bn) in assets under advice.

The UK’s National Association of Pension Funds has released a survey which finds that most pension funds now “factor in attitudes to shareholder engagement” when selecting asset managers. Its annual engagement survey found that 65% of respondents stated engagement activity was very or quite effective, compared to 50% the previous year.
The Network for Sustainable Financial Markets has issued a blueprint for wealth management after the global financial crisis. The report is available here

Robeco wants to get its pension fund clients into agriculture investments. Chief executive Roderick Munsters told Financial News that clients could get into cattle investments in Australia and soft commodities like soy beans and corn. He said: “You can invest in farmland and water. These are all the ideas we are contemplating.” Link*A new Chinese low carbon equity index* has been launched by the China Beijing Environmental Exchange and clean tech specialist VantagePoint Partners. They said the China Low Carbon Index is the first to track China’s clean tech sector and the first RMB-denominated low carbon index. Release

Sarona Asset Management, the Ontario-based boutique fund manager, has signed up to the UNPRI. It’s also joined the Investors Council of the Global Impact Investment Network (GIIN). Link

Septa, the $700m Pennsylvania transportation fund, has sued oil giant BP to recover losses related to the oil giant’s Deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. It quoted Septa officials as saying the fund has lost almost $8m as BP’s shares have plunged after the accident.

UK retail ethical investment has hit a record £9.5bn (€11.5bn) according to responsible investment researcher EIRIS. There are now around 750,000 individual investors in green funds up from around 200,000 in 1999 when there was some £2.4bn invested ethically. There are now almost 100 green and ethical funds available to UK investors – a decade ago there were just a couple of dozen. Report

Sustainable bank Triodos has launched another capital raising, following its €102m Depository Receipt issue last year. The move will allow it “to maintain our strong capital position in the context of a more demanding regulatory environment whilst supporting our continued growth and impact”. It said its assets under management grew by 30% to €4.9bn in 2009. Announcement