RI ESG Briefing, Jan. 17: Canadian socially responsible investment assets up 16%

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


The UK’s new £3bn (€3.6bn) Green Investment Bank may allocate all its assets in the next two or three years, according to a Bloomberg report citing CEO Shaun Kingsbury. The bank is prioritizing offshore wind, waste treatment, recycling, waste-to-energy and energy efficiency. It has already leant £30m for a recycling and power project. It has also provided £45m to allow Dutch pension fund PGGM and its partner the Ampere Equity Fund to refinance their stake in the Walney offshore wind farm.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs is reportedly accelerating its renewable energy funding efforts. The firm overtook rival Morgan Stanley as the biggest lead manager for share offerings with three deals valued at $405m, according to Bloomberg. It quoted Stuart Bernstein, who heads the firm’s renewables arm as saying of renewables investment, which has slumped in recent years: “It feels like the worst is behind us.”


A new report from the Social Investment Organization (SIO) shows that socially responsible investment (SRI) assets in Canada continue to climb. The Canadian SRI Review 2012, released today (January 17), shows that assets managed under sustainable and socially responsible guidelines grew by 16% between June 30 2010 and December 31 2011. Total assets managed under SRI guidelines is C$600.9bn (€457bn), up from C$517.9bn. SRI now accounts for 20% of all AUM.

TIAACREF, the US academic sector pension institution with $495bn (€370bn) in assets under management has become the latest major global investor, the 17th, to join the Long Term Investors’ Club (LTIC). The total assets aligned to the group are now $4.5trn. It joins existing members such as Dutch pension giant APG and Canada’s Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. Link. Governance

The UK’s first ‘Ownership Day’ will take place on March 12, organised by UKSIF, the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association. “Ownership Day will enable UKSIF and its members to increase awareness and understanding of active long-term ownership, using the same proven “collective promotion” model as National Ethical Investment Week and Fairtrade Fortnight,” it said. UKSIF will call on private and institutional asset owners to ask their financial advisers and asset managers what is being done to protect the long-term value of their assets using professional ownership.

The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has started expanding its database of examples of integrated reporting. The database showcases emerging practices and demonstrates how the businesses included are applying Integrated Reporting. The IIRC promotes a closer alignment between sustainability and financial reporting.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, under Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has announced an agreement with KeyCorp, under which the Cleveland-based banking group will disclose all of its corporate political spending, lobbying and employee-sponsored political contributions. “KeyCorp has taken a positive step for transparency and corporate accountability by agreeing to reveal its political contributions,” DiNapoli said. He said more companies should follow KeyCorp and voluntarily disclose information “that shareholders have a right to know.” He urged the Securities and Exchange Commission to require corporate political spending disclosure.

US business groups the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable have filed a brief in support of their previously announced conflict minerals lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They oppose the Dodd-Frank mandated rule that requires companies to determine if their products contain minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Link

A measure to require US companies to disclose their political spending has effectively been killed by the fact that there is not enough support for it at the top of the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a Reuters report citing Republican commissioner Daniel Gallagher. “That should not be one of our priorities,” he was quoted saying.