RI ESG Briefing, Dec 13: Wellington discloses 12.8% stake in clean coal tech firm

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


Wellington Management Co., the Boston-based asset management giant with $748bn (€573.1bn) in assets under management, has disclosed a 12.81% stake in NASDAQ-listed coal emissions control technology company ADA-ES. Wellington has previously disclosed stakes in California-based solar technology company SunPower Corp. and Nebraska-based ethanol producer Green Plains Renewables.

The share of electricity generation from renewables in the US is set to grow from 13% in 2011 to 16% in 2040, according to the Annual Energy Outlook 2013 from the US Energy Information Administration. “Electricity generation from solar and, to a lesser degree, wind energy sources grows as recent cost declines make them more economical,” it says – though there is a less optimistic projection about advanced biofuels.

The China Development Bank has agreed to provide an aggregate US$1bn in financing over five years to New York-listed Chinese solar tech firm JinkoSolar. CDB’s Guangdong Branch has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with JinkoSolar’s Swiss subsidiary, JinkoSolar (Switzerland) AG, which will act as the platform to expand the company’s presence overseas. Announcement


European socially responsible investing (SRI) pioneer Dexia Asset Management has been sold to Hong Kong-based investment house GCS Capital for €380m. The deal, which should be finalised in the first quarter of 2013, gives Dexia AM “an opportunity to continue its commercial development and to expand its current platform into new growth areas” said Dexia Group CEO Karel De Boeck.

The European Parliament has given a “resounding go-ahead” for 11 European member states to set up a financial transaction tax. Greek MEP Anni Podimata’s resolution was adopted by 533 votes to 91, with 32 abstentions. The text stresses that the ultimate goal should still be a worldwide FTT, and urges the EU to continue campaigning for it.h6. Governance

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says UK companies’ boards are making “clear progress on diversity and the use of external evaluation” – but they need to do more on disclosing their approach to succession planning. The ABI’s 2012 report on Board Effectiveness sets out progress and highlights best practice in diversity, succession planning and the use of external evaluation, one year on from its first report on board effectiveness. It also includes a review of the role of the chairman.

The Club of Florence corporate governance institute has decided to extend the deadline for responding to its questionnaire on shareholder engagement. So far it has had responses from people in 44 countries which it is very satisfied with – but says: “The more participation we have, the more representative our analysis will be”. Link

RepRisk, the provider of business intelligence on environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks, has released a report on the most controversial companies headquartered in the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China in the year to October 2012. In Brazil, the top three were Vale SA, Petrobras and Norte Energia Consortium. In Russia it was Gazprom, Arktikmor Neftegaz Razvedka and FEMCO. In India: Maruti Suzuki, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam and Coastal Gujarat. The most controversial companies in China were HEG Electronics, China National Petroleum Corporation and RiTeng Computer Accessory Co.

ECGS (Expert Corporate Governance Service), the joint venture European proxy advisory firm, has released a report into the pay of the chief executives of 392 companies and takes a close look at the remuneration structures across Europe. Directors’ Pay 2011: An international comparison is available here.

The US system of investor class actions needs to be reviewed, according to District Judge Lewis Kaplan, the prominent federal judge, according to a Reuters report. Speaking at a conference on securities litigation Kaplan said the current system was producing small settlements that cost too much. “It’s a jerry-rigged system never thought through from beginning to end,” he was quoted saying.