RI Briefing, June 14, CalSTRS, Vigeo, CPPIB & OTPP, SAM, Global Environment Fund

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

The $138bn California State Teachers’ Retirement System says it has joined with two other investors to sue US mining firm Massey Energy Co., whose Upper Bigger Branch mine was the site of a fatal accident in April. The suit alleges Massey CEO Don Blankenship breached his fiduciary duty. The fund is also urging Chesapeake Energy to produce a sustainability report on ESG issues. Link

French corporate social responsibility consultant Vigeo has created two brands. Vigeo Rating will rate companies for CSR and assist investors and asset managers while Vigeo Enterprise will work with companies, local authorities and public organisations. Chief executive Nicole Notat says she sees “a revitalised demand for and a renewed interest in SRI and CSR”. Report

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan have said they will vote against a proposed deal between auto parts firm Magna International and the Stronach Trust of company founder Frank Stronach. The funds argue the deal unfairly dilutes the value of subordinate voting shares. Analysis

Robeco’s SAM Private Equity has held the first close of its third Clean Tech Fund at $200m, building on “strong demand” from institutional investors. The fund is a hybrid private equity vehicle investing in primary and secondary global clean-tech funds and co-investments. Release

US asset management house Global Environment Fund was named Sustainable Investor of the Year at the Financial Times Sustainable Banking Awards in London. Calvert Investments was named runner-up in the category with Co-Operative Financial Services of the UK taking the overall Sustainable Bank of the Year title.The awards, now in their fifth year, were co-hosted by the World Bank’s IFC. Web site
A group of major US investors have underlined the “critical” importance of proposals to allow shareholders to nominate company directors. They have written to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd saying the reform “will provide investors with the necessary tool to achieve appropriate transparency, accountability, and management of risk at the corporate level”. Letter

CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, has committed $50m as a cornerstone investor to the first private equity fund to focus solely on sustainable forestry in sub-Saharan Africa, US asset manager Global Environment Fund’s Africa Sustainable Forestry Fund.

Canadian boutique Sarona Asset Management says its new Sarona Frontier Markets Fund 1 LP has made its first five investments in funds focusing on global microfinance, renewable energy in South Asia and small and medium sized enterprises in Mexico, Africa and India. Release

US asset manager Equilibrium Capital Group has proposed creating marketable securities based on saved energy or “negawatts”. It said: “The biggest investment opportunity in this market is innovative financial instruments that can fund energy efficiency building retrofit projects on a large scale, turning negawatts, or saved energy, into marketable securities.” Web site

The European Investment Bank has proposed setting up a “platform” combining EU grants, loans from the EIB and other financing institutions along with “private financial flows” as a “long-term strategic solution to attract climate change funding”. Annual statement