RI Briefing: M&S Pension Scheme signs up to UN PRI

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

The £5bn (€5.9bn) Marks & Spencer Pension Scheme has signed up to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, one of the few corporate funds to do so. Australian real estate fund manager Fortius and Canadian water industry investor XPV Capital Corp. have also signed up. UN PRI site

Dutch pension fund PGGM has invested A$355m (€264m) in a new social infrastructure-focused fund. The Lend Lease UK Infrastructure Fund, set up by Australia’s Lend Lease, will have a 28-year life. Link

Australia’s A$6bn (€4.47bn) Local Government Super fund plans to almost double its allocation to responsible investment in the coming year, according to reports. Super Review quoted LGS’s Sustainability Manager Bill Hartnett as saying it will raise its RI allocation to some $3bn in 2011.

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the €6trn investor group, has welcomed the agreement reached at the Cancun climate talks. Chairman Ole Beier Sørensen said it will put the international climate process back on the agenda. Investors with over $15trn in assets issued a statement before the conference calling for stronger climate change polices.

The International Council on Mining and Metals has released its 2010 Stakeholders’ Views of Mining and Sustainable Development survey, which reveals that environmental concerns (40%) are the top sustainable development issues facing the industry.

Deutsche Bank sees alliances “across banking, insurance and fund management” to connect investors with climate change innovators. CEO Josef Ackermann, in a speech at the Global Metro Summit, said green growth is at the heart of “the new industrial revolution”.

The Swedish Corporate Governance Board says foreign companies listed in Sweden will have to apply the Corporate Governance Code or their home country code from the start of next year. Announcement
Two new institutional investors have become ‘advocates’ for US proxy site Moxy Vote. The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church, a founding signatory to the UN PRI, and Newground Social Investment join investors like the Florida State Board of Administration and F&C Asset Management in supporting the initiative. Link*The Organisation for Economic* Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Global Reporting Initiative have partnered to provide guidance to multinational companies on how to operate responsibly and report on their sustainability performance. The move links the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises with the GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework. Announcement

Dow Jones has launched an index to help fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The Dow Jones Global Fund 50, a collaboration with the Global Fund project, is the basis of a new Deutsche Bank exchange traded fund, the db x-trackers Global Fund Supporters ETF. Link

Deutsche has also unveiled an ETF based on STOXX’s Europe Christian Index. The db x-trackers STOXX Europe Christian Index ETF is now on Xetra. Link

A lawsuit brought by the Security Police and Fire Professionals of America Retirement Fund and the Central Laborers’ Pension Fund over executive pay at investment bank Morgan Stanley has been dismissed by New York State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich, according to Bloomberg News
Accountancy firm Deloitte has bought sustainability firms ClearCarbon Consulting and DOMANI Sustainability Consulting. The move follows the acquisition of carbon consultancy dcarbon8 earlier this year. Kyle Tanger and Will Sarni, respective CEOs of ClearCarbon and DOMANI, become directors of Deloitte. Release

Corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure was among the topics discussed at the plenary meeting of the European Multistakeholder Forum on CSR in Brussels last month.

The Financial Services Authority, the UK regulator, has taken action against two firms operating an African bio-fuels collective investment scheme. The FSA said Bio Partners and Zambia Alpha had taken in almost £1m (€1.2m) from UK investors.

Social Investment Australia, part of Foresters Community Finance, has extended the offer period for its new Social Impact Property Fund No. 1. It said it’s “a pioneering product in a burgeoning market” and that it was confident it will reach the minimum investment level for the fund. Link