RI ESG Briefing, August 29: RBS under-reporting emissions to CDP – campaign group

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


The World Development Movement (WDM), a UK campaign group, says RBS, the banking group, is massively under-reporting its greenhouse gas exposure because it doesn’t include money the bank loans to fossil fuel companies or projects. In 2012 RBS reported greenhouse gas emissions of 735,437 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) to the CDP, the former Carbon Disclosure Project. However, WDM argues that if RBS were to include loans to fossil fuel companies, the estimated total for 2012 would be between 478.5 million tCO2-e and 910.7 million tCO2-e. The UK taxpayer has an 81% stake in RBS. Under CDP, companies report both Scope 1 (Direct GHG emissions) and Scope 2 (Indirect GHG emissions from purchased electricity). So-called Scope 3 emissions covering other indirect emissions are not counted. Link

NEI Investments, the C$5bn (€3.6bn) Canadian mutual fund company, has responded to the government’s consultation on mandatory transparency reporting in the extractives sector. It calls for it to support the work of the Resource Revenue Transparency Working Group (RRTWG). NEI was a lead author of an investor statement of support for the group signed by 24 Canadian investment institutions representing over $362bn in assets. NEI says the group’s draft recommendations “should form the basis for any mandatory reporting framework for Canadian companies”.

Aviva, the UK insurer that is the parent of fund firm Aviva Investors, says it has for the first time been able to “robustly measure and report on” the additional benefits that its carbon offset programmes have had on local communities. It says the programme has positively impacted the lives of more than 200,000 people through two projects – LifeStraw Carbon for Water in Kenya and Envirofit Efficient Stoves in India.


Sustainable banking group Triodos says assets under management at its Triodos Bank, Triodos Investment Funds and Triodos Private Banking arm grew by 10% to €8.9bn in the first half of 2013. Lending to sustainable business and projects rose by 5% and net profit rose 35% to €13.4m.h6. Governance

The Institute for Policy Studies, the Washington DC-based think tank, says almost 40% of the CEOs on the highest-paid lists from the past 20 years were eventually “bailed out, booted, or busted”. It’s released a report called Executive Excess 2013 looking at the performance of the 241 corporate chief executives who have ranked among America’s 25 highest-paid CEOs in one or more of the past 20 years. The analysis “reveals widespread poor performance within America’s elite CEO circles”.

The Conference Board, the New York-based membership and research association, has published the 2013 edition of its Top Executive Compensation Report. It examines salary, total cash compensation, total compensation, and the mix of compensation elements including stock and stock options, for the CEO and the five highest paid executives of US listed companies. Between the last two years, total cash compensation increased in 17 out of 22 industries, a positive change compared to only 13 in the 2009-2010 period. However, four industries saw declines in total cash pay, up from two in 2011.

Portugal’s Securities Commission, the CMVM has updated – for the sixth time in the last 12 years – its mandatory corporate governance regulation and published a revised 2013 Corporate Governance Code, according to an update from Vanessa Iriarte at research firm Glass Lewis. “Although many of the changes can be described as prudent and positive, several changes may leave governance enthusiasts wondering whether the revisions are headed in the right direction,” Iriarte adds.

South African mining minister Susan Shabangu has reportedly backed the Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC’s) opposition to big increases in the salaries of mining firms’ CEOs. Speaking at the Africa Down Under event in Perth, Australia, she was quoted saying she wanted to “welcome and support” PIC’s voting against executive pay at “various large gold and platinum miners” by industry site Miningmx. PIC manages the assets of the giant Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), Africa’s largest pension fund.