RI Briefing, September 22: ISO 26000, EIRIS, BP, EDHEC, FairPensions

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

The International Organization for Standardization says the planned ISO 26000 guidance standard for social responsibility was approved at a recent ballot. China and a range of Middle East voted in favour with just Cuba, India, Luxembourg, Turkey and the US voting against the final draft. Link

Consulting firm EIRIS has recommended mandatory environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure in its new Sustainable Stock Exchanges: improving ESG standards among listed companies. The report was released at the UN World Investment Forum in China.

BP’s response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the environmental and social impact and its “history of similar incidents” saw it removed from the FTSE4Good Global Index Series as part of a semi-annual review, along with seven other firms. Some 13 companies were added to the indices. For more details go here

The EDHEC-Risk Institute has released updated research that confirms its earlier findings that socially responsible funds do not outperform traditional ones. “They do not add value from a strictly financial viewpoint and investors need to be aware of this,” said EDHEC director Noël Amenc.

FairPensions and Greenpeace have launched a campaign calling on investors to ensure that oil companies are identifying and managing the risks brought to light in the wake of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. See the groups’ campaign website

Brazilian stock exchange BM&FBOVESPA has announced changes listed companies’ corporate governance rule. The bourse said the process was a “transparent debate between companies, investors and a range of market agents”. The changes should come into effect by the end of the year.Analysts at banking giant HSBC have forecast that the world’s low-carbon energy market is likely to treble by 2020. They said the electric vehicle market would benefit most, growing more than 20 times by 2020 to reach $473bn. A market in low-carbon energy and efficiency technologies will at least double to $1.5trn. Link

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative has joined insurance bodies ClimateWise, the Geneva Association, the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative to call for greater action to adapt the developing world to climate change. UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said the insurance industry has the expertise and the creative solutions to assist on climate change – but governments also needed to act. Link

US software giant Oracle is resisting a proposal by socially responsible investing firm Harrington Investments that it set up a board committee on sustainability. Oracle’s annual company meeting is scheduled for October 6. Harrington has had success with similar proposals at Intel Corp. Link to proxy
BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners has acquired 100% of a new Irish wind farm. It bought Gortahile Windfarm – forecast to produce around 70 GWh of electricity per year – from ABO Wind Ireland for an undisclosed price. It would be a “the cornerstone of a larger portfolio that we intend to build in Ireland” BNP Paribas added.
Analysis firm Maplecroft has launched a new quarterly human rights monitor. It will offer country risk scorecards for organisations with operations, supply chains, distribution networks and investments in countries that present high risk of human rights violations.