RI Briefing: OTPP commits up to €56m to clean energy firm

The C$96.4bn (€72.3bn) Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has committed up to $75m (€56m) in an equity investment in BluEarth Renewables Inc. BluEarth is a privately held Calgary-based company focused on hydro, wind and solar power projects in North America which was formed by former senior staff of Canadian Hydro Developers. Announcement

US proxy voting firm Glass Lewis is to take over the proxy voting and advisory service customer contracts of PROXY Governance Inc. (PGI), according to a news release. PGI, part of financial services and technology firm FOLIOfn, will cease to provide the services after the end of the year.

The Philippine Stock Exchange has issued new corporate governance guidelines for listed companies. The disclosures, to be submitted annually from January 30, are implemented under a “comply or explain” regime. Link

The Financial Reporting Council, the UK watchdog that oversees the Stewardship code, is to spend £0.7m (€0.825m) less on corporate governance, accounting and auditing in 2011/12, according to its draft budget. The FRC is also stressing its role in “influencing and responding to EU and global initiatives relevant to our objectives in line with our principles-based approach”.

Canada’a C$12bn (€8.9bn) OPTrust, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Pension Trust, has commited up to £19m for up to a 33% stake in the Carbon Trust’s Partnerships for Renewables fund. The investment was made via its private markets division. Announcement

BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners has raised €437m for its Clean Energy Fund from a range of institutional investors. The fund, which invests in onshore wind, solar photovoltaic, biomass and hydro power generation in Europe, had a first close in September 2009 with a cornerstone commitment from BNP Paribas Investment Partners. Release

The Indian government is planning to set up a green bank, according to a report in the Ecomomic Times citing officials at the ministry for new and renewable energy. The bank would fund projects to generate electricity from wind, solar, tidal and other renewable sources.

The $12bn Illinois State Universities Retirement System supported only 19% of management proposals on compensation in the third quarter, according to a report from its consultant Marco Consulting Group (MCG). The fund also did not support management on two social issues during the period, on animal testing and greenhouse gas emissions.The Confederation of British Industry has called for the corporate governance code for UK listed companies to be rewritten requiring firms to measure their progress in boosting the number of women on boards. But fellow business lobby group the Institute of Directors said targets of any kind were a “quick-fix” solution. Announcement
The Friends of the Earth in the Netherlands is calling on its members to lobby their pension funds to ditch tar sands investments and put more investment into sustainable energy. The campaigners released research claiming Dutch schemes such as civil service giant and railways fund SPF invest around €1.5bn in Canadian tar sands.

NEST, the UK’s new National Employment Savings Trust, has tendered for a global equity socially-responsible investment (SRI) manager. The move comes after it confirmed members will be offered an SRI fund as one of several investment options. NEST CEO Mark Fawcett said the fund’s main focus would be on human rights, labour practices, positive environmental records and avoiding armaments.

Exchange group NASDAQ OMX is to launch a Finnish Sustainability Index, with assessments being provided by research firm GES Investment Services. The new OMX GES Finland Sustainability Index comprises the 40 leading Finnish listed companies using environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Link

Real estate asset manager PRUPIM (Prudential Property Investment Managers) has introduced in-house software to allow its fund managers rate all assets or potential acquisitions according to their sustainability credentials, according to its latest sustainability report. PRUPIM, which manages £15.6bn in assets, signed up to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment in 2009.

The Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, the 43-member group representing more than C$1.4trn in assets, has released its 2010 Principles for Governance Monitoring, Voting and Shareholder Engagement. It’s also unveiled its best practices review of proxy circular disclosure.

Calvert Investments has added retailer Safeway to its Social Index as it has “demonstrated improved relations with its employees and unions”. Also added are JB Hunt Transport Services, Darden Restaurants and Landstar System. Drugs firm Forest Laboratories has been dumped from the index as it no longer meets product marketing standards. Universal Health Services may be deleted in March as it no longer meets Calvert’s safety standards. Calvert