RI ESG Briefing, April 9: Inrate and Covalence in ESG research tie

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


US power utility Con Edison is currently in the process of placing $220m of fixed-rate notes, which are similar to covered bonds, in the private placement market, according to industry group the Climate Bonds Initiative. The proceeds will refinance 110MW of US solar projects. Citi is the lead agent on the deal while the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Key Bank and Mizuho are co-placement agents.

The United Nations Environment Programme has asked fellow UN body, the Office for Project Services (UNOPS), to buy 50,000 certificates of emission reduction (CERs), to cover UNEP’s emissions for 2010-2013. UNOPS has bought an additional 14,000 certificates on its own account – the combined procurement allowed the two organizations to offset in a landfill gas management project in Colombia, while UNEP also contributed to the installation of a 15MW wind farm in Tamil Nadu, India. “It is important for UN agencies to practice what they preach, both internally and in our programmes,” said Shoa Ehsani, Climate Neutral Officer at UNEP. Link

Food giant Nestlé has teamed up with non-governmental organisation Conservation International to launch the ‘Deforestation Guides for Commodity Sourcing’. They use data from satellites to ‘track’ and illustrate the areas at greatest risk of deforestation. The new guides aim to encourage companies, governments and civil society make a concerted effort to address the issue, the company says.


The German environment ministry has published a handbook on the state of responsible investment in the country, including interviews with investors that have joined the PRI Initiative (PRI) and help for investors on how to implement those principles. As reported, the ministry tasked business consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) with development of the handbook. PwC also held a workshop in Berlin last October for current PRI members and those in Germany’s institutional market that are considering joining. In a statement, German environment minister Peter Altmaier said: “I am convinced that the societal trend toward responsible and sustainable action will also prevail in the financial sector.”

Shareholders of six Fidelity funds and of JPMorgan Chase have an opportunity to vote in support of genocide-free investing shareholder proposals at meetings scheduled for May 14 and May 21 respectively.
 It follows two votes at two Franklin Templeton funds and at Franklin Resources, the corporate parent for Franklin Templeton funds in March.h6. Governance

Swiss-based environmental, social and governance research houses Inrate and Covalence have announced a “strategic collaboration” to analyse listed companies. The cooperation gives Inrate access to up-to-date research on controversial issues, such as corruption, food scandals or human rights violations. The monitoring of these topics is part of the Covalence ethical reputation tracking using international media and diversified online sources. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Dutch civil service pension giant ABP says it has persuaded US pharmaceutical firm Hospira to cease supplying US prisons with a chemical – potassium chloride – used during executions, according to a report on pensions website IPE.com. The fund had voiced concerns about Hospira selling the product after a request from British human rights group Reprieve that it disinvest in the company.

European insurance watchdog Eiopa, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, has issued a discussion paper on long-term investments. Consultation on the Discussion Paper on Standard Formula Design and Calibration for Certain Long-Term Investments is open until May 28.

The $255bn California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) has reportedly identified 52 directors who have failed to win shareholder votes but either stayed in place or subsequently been reinstated – so-called “zombie boards”. The Financial Times said the giant US fund is preparing to take on such zombies as well as “rogue” pay arrangements as the US annual general meeting season gets into full swing.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research provider IW Financial has announced that it will offer a complimentary portfolio review to asset managers and owners concerned about corporate involvement in companies that manufacture firearms and ammunition for non-military markets. The offer is a response to the national debate on firearms following the Connecticut school massacre. “Given the impact of firearms over the last year and the national debate about this issue, we wanted to help investors move the discussion forward,” said IW’s Chief Executive Sam Pierce.

NASDAQ-listed private equity giant the Carlyle Group will today (April 9) host an informational investor call to “educate” analysts and investors on the reporting of corporate, state, local, and statutory taxes that impact its earnings. The call will feature Chief Financial Officer Adena Friedman, Head of Equity and Tax Management Lauren Dillard, Tax Principal Donald D’Anna, and Head of Public Market Investor Relations Daniel Harris.