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RI ESG Briefing, April 13: Generation IM backs waste-to-energy firm’s financing

The round-up of ESG news

Environmental

Generation Investment Management, the sustainable funds firm co-founded by Al Gore, has participated in a $110m (€83.8m) financing round into Massachusetts-based waste-to-energy firm Harvest Power. The investment was led by True North Venture Partners alongside existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, DAG Ventures and Generation. Link

Global clean energy finance and investment grew to $263bn in 2011, a 6.5% increase over 2010, according to research from the Pew Charitable Trusts. “Clean energy investment, excluding research and development, has grown by 600% since 2004,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program. Link

ClimateWise, the insurance industry climate change initiative that which is facilitated by the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, has issued a request for proposals to review the adherence to its principles. The deadline for submissions is May 8.

Social

Consultancy the Center for Social and Sustainable Products (CSSP) has released a study called ‘The Transparency Survey 2012’ looking at how major financial institutions are using their websites to communicate on responsible investment and philanthropy.

A new website being launched next month for corporate directors is looking to invite women with the potential to serve on the boards of UK companies. Boardroom.org is going live with the support of London Stock Exchange ProQuote, law firms Mishcon de Reya and Clifford Chance and others.

Deka Bank, the asset manager for German Sparkassen, or savings banks, has decided to cease trading in basic foodstuffs such as wheat, soya and cattle following pressure from the Berlin-based Foodwatch campaign group. In late March, Deutsche Bank announced a moratorium on new exchange-traded products that are linked to basic foodstuffs.h6. Governance

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters says six US companies have agreed to provide more information about their auditors, according to an Institutional Shareholder Services blog post. The firms – H.J. Heinz, Supervalu, Electronic Arts, Legg Mason, J.M. Smucker Co. and BMC Software – have agreed to provide an audit firm independence statement.

Proxy research firm Glass Lewis has unveiled a “new, free” Issuer Engagement Portal. It will enable companies to have access to information on the firm’s approach to analysing proxy issues. It can also be used to propose topics for open forum conference calls. Link
Members of the European Parliament have tabled “dozens” of remuneration amendments to planned legislation to implement Basel III bank capital rules, according to a report in the Financial Times. The FT said it means that bankers’ bonuses could be capped at no more than their fixed salaries.

Proxy firms ISS and Glass Lewis are backing shareholder Gerald Armstrong’s proposal to split the chairman and CEO roles at US bank Wells Fargo & Co, according to Reuters report. “The presence of an independent chairman fosters the creation of a thoughtful and dynamic board,” Glass Lewis said. Wells Fargo holds its AGM on April 24.

Trillium Asset Management, the US fund manager, has written to shareholders in Verizon seeking support for its proposal calling for a commitment to network neutrality ahead of the US telecoms firm’s May 3 annual meeting. “We suggest that now is the time for the company to pledge that they will not put the economic engine that is the Internet at risk,” writes Trillium Vice President Jonas Kron.

Legal & General, the UK insurance and asset management giant, has published a ‘single-figure’ remuneration number for executive pay in its new annual report. “It is hoped that this will help shareholders’ understanding and demonstrate the [remuneration] committee’s commitment to transparent reporting,” it says. Link