RI Briefing, December 3: Trillium, VBDO, ISO, IVOX, SAM/Dow Jones

RI’s regular round-up of responsible investing news

US socially responsible investment specialist Trillium Asset Management has returned to independent ownership. Trillium said it has recently completed the repurchase of convertible preferred stock that was issued to Wainwright Bank’s Progressive Securities subsidiary in November 1997. “With the repurchase, Trillium is now owned entirely by its employees and board members,” Trillium said.

The VBDO, the Dutch sustainable investment association, has named REAAL, ASR, Loyalis, Menzis and Delta Lloyd as the best domestic insurers for responsible investment. But it said the smallest insurance companies in the Netherlands “still have no demonstrable responsible investment policy”. The findings are in its new Benchmark for Responsible Investment by Insurance Companies in the Netherlands 2010. link to report

ISO, the International Standards Organisation, has made it “crystal clear” that the new ISO 26000 guidance standard on social responsibility must not be used for certification – and that it will take action against any such claims. It points out ISO 26000 is not a management system standard. Release

IVOX, the Germany-based proxy voting firm, has signed an alliance with Broadridge Financial Solutions. “This alliance aims at meeting the needs of institutional investors in corporate governance analysis and proxy voting services, and builds on the strengths of both companies,” IVOX said. IVOX will make its shareholder meeting analyses for European companies available via Broadridge’s web-based vote processing solution. Site

SAM and Dow Jones Indexes have launched the Dow Jones Sustainability Nordic Index (DJSI Nordic). The new index, which is calculated in euros and dollars, includes 29 sustainability leaders from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden; it will be rebalanced annually in September.

Brazilian exchange BM&FBOVESPA has announced the composition of its Corporate Sustainability Index (ISE) effective from January 3. It now comprises 47 shares from 38 companies, or some 46% of market capitalisation. There are six newcomers to the index: Anhanguera, BICBANCO, COPASA, Santander, Ultrapar and Vale.A study by research firm Trucost and wealth manager RLP Capital has found that funds incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis outperformed traditional funds over one- and three-year periods. The study compared the carbon footprints, performance and risk characteristics of the eight largest traditional mutual funds with the eight largest responsible funds in several key asset categories. Link

China Investment Corp., the state investor, has pulled out of an agremeent to form a solar power joint venture company with Hong Kong-based GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., according to a company statement. CIC has been an investor in GCL-Poly since November 2009; the company insists the relationship is still “close and stable”.
A new Ebook collecting articles submitted by the participants to the Harvard Business School’s 2010 “Workshop on Integrated Reporting: Frameworks and Action Plan” is available here. It’s titled “The Landscape of Integrated Reporting: Reflections and Next Steps”.
US software firm Symantec has decided to hold “hybrid” shareholder meetings in the future, after evaluating its online-only virtual meeting held in September. “This will enable our stockholders to participate either in person or via the Internet depending on what best suits their needs,” it said.

The UK’s Financial Services Authority’s consultation on remuneration disclosure requirements closes on December 8. The FSA intends to publish a policy statement on remuneration disclosure in mid-December. Link

Brazilian state development bank BNDES has launched a BRL1bn (€455m) fund to help finance projects to cut deforestation by providing low interest loans for rural businesses and cooperatives, according to a Reuters report.

A survey by the EDHEC– Risk Institute has found that environmental protection is considered an investment theme by 90% of investment management professionals. The publication – Adoption of Green Investing by Institutional Investors: A European Survey – is available here.