RI Briefing, March 9: GovernanceMetrics report on women on listed company boards

RI’s regular round-up of sustainable finance news.

Women board representation: More than 40% of the world’s largest public companies have not appointed a single woman to their boards, according to GovernanceMetrics International’s 2011 Women on Boards Report

Brazilian exchange BM&FBOVESPA’s new annual report contains a combination of economic-financial, social and environmental data for the first time, saying: “With this initiative the Exchange intends to encourage the inclusion, in analysis and in investment decisions, of firms’ environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices.” Link

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the US development finance agency, has tapped Cambridge Associates to help it put together a call for proposals on impact investments. The call, due later this month, will be open to equity, debt and hybrid strategies in any sector that relates to social and environmental impact investing in developing countries. Announcement

The Calvert Foundation and the Co-Operative Bank are among signatories to a letter in support of Nobel Prize-winning microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus, who has been removed from his post at Grameen Bank. “He has our strong support, and our wishes for a just and speedy resolution to this sad turn of events,” the letter states.

The Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance, the Dubai-based Middle East and North African governance body, has announced a partnership agreement with the International Centre for Financial Regulation. City of London-based ICFR is a not-for-profit group focused on best practice in financial regulation.

The Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) is now offering funders and other stakeholder’s access to social performance information in conjunction with financial performance information. “MIX has taken major steps both to integrate social performance reporting with standard financial reporting and to enhance data access,” it says.

Netherlands-based Oikocredit, one of the world’s largest private microfinance financiers, saw its total assets grow by 19% to €640m in 2010. “In addition, the development financing portfolio – the money in the field – increased 22% to €481m, up from €394m the previous year.” Announcement

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has said it would like to see more resource-rich countries “move beyond rhetoric and implement” the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). It welcomed Norway as the first OECD country to reach compliance status earlier this month.

Civil society groups including Friends of the Earth have petitioned the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to request that Zijin Mining Group fully discloses material risks they say associated with the controversial Rio Blanco Mine in Peru.Ontario-based Sarona Asset Management says it has closed the 2011 series offering of its Sarona Frontier Markets Fund I LP on January 31, with more than C$22m in investor commitments. The fund is a private equity fund-of-funds offering a strategy of financial, social, and environmental targets in developing countries.
Two-thirds of the world’s top 100 brands are failing on climate change, according to new research from responsible investment research firm EIRIS. The Cool Brands versus Hot Brands? report found Gillette had the highest climate change rating, while Porsche got one of the lowest scores.

A group or more than 60 institutional investors are calling on CEOs of leading US companies to speak out for immigration policy reform. The leaders of the initiative include John Liu, Comptroller for the City of New York, as well as senior management from Mercy Investment Services, Boston Common Asset Management, Walden Asset Management and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

US responsible investing specialist Calvert Asset Management Company has written to the Securities and Exchange Commission calling for the “highest possible disclosure requirements by oil, gas and mining companies”. The comments are part of a consultation on the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Act. Link

Sustainability investment analytics provider CRD Analytics has published a new paper demonstrating the benefits of measuring a corporation’s Sustainable Performance Value (SPV) using a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) methodology. Building Financial Portfolios & Indexes Using a Triple Bottom Line Methodology is available here

The Asian Development Bank has set up The Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness Trust Fund. It’s a new multi-donor fund to support developing countries’ aid effectiveness and will be administered by the ADB. Announcement

The World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are working on a new global knowledge platform aimed at fostering green growth. World Bank Vice President Inger Andersen has called on governments, international aid agencies and other partners to join in the initiative. Announcement

There have been calls from UK MPs to split up CDC, the Commonwealth Development Corporation, the UK’s development finance institution. The BBC reported the House of Commons international development committee has condemned pay at CDC as “excessive”. It comes amid reports of lavish expenses claims and the early retirement of CDC CEO Richard Laing.