RI ESG Briefing, January 8: sustainability reporting proposal at Emerson Electric

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news

Environmental

Germany: new solar power installations hit a new high in 2012, although a cut in subsidies led to a tapering off in the final quarter, according to a Reuters report citing Environment Ministry data. Capacity grew by more than 7.6GW, way above the desired 2.5-3.5GW. The ministry expects new solar power generating capacity of between 3.5 and 4GW in 2013.

The number and value of equity investment deals in the Chinese clean-energy sector last year was at a six-year low, according to a report in China Daily citing ChinaVenture Group. Just eight deals received $510m; the report added that only five Chinese clean-energy companies got a global listing in 2012 – raising $99.8m in total.

The solar photovoltaic sector in emerging markets could be a $400bn investment opportunity, according to a new report by energy market research group IHS. Its Emerging Solar PV Markets and Strategies: 2012-2035 is available here.

Social

Banking giant J.P. Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) have released a new report that indicates that respondents are planning to commit $9bn (euro) to impact investing in 2013, up from $8bn last year. The Perspectives on Progress survey covers 99 impact investors and is available here.

IVG, the Germany-based real estate and infrastructure company with €21.4bn in assets, has joined GRESB, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark. The UK’s £8.1bn Crown Estate has also joined.

Online voting in the 2013 Public Eye People’s Awards for 2013, which highlight corporate human rights abuses and “environmental misdeeds”, is now open. Voting runs until January 23 and investment bank Goldman Sachs currently tops the voting with 3,333 votes, followed by Shell and security firm G4S. The awards will be announced on January 24.h6. Governance

Walden Asset Management, the US-based sustainable fund manager with around $2.3bn in assets, is leading a shareholder proposal at Emerson Electric calling for sustainability reporting including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals. Similar proposals at the New York-listed diversified manufacturing and technology firm have had substantial support, with around 34% at last year’s annual meeting. The resolution is co-filed by a number of proponents: First Parish Church in Cambridge, Funding Exchange, The Oneida Tribe of Indians Trust Fund for the Elderly, Manhattan Country School, Needmor Fund, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur of Everett, The Russell Family Foundation, The Sustainability Group at Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge, Walden Equity Fund and Zevin Asset Management. Emerson holds its AGM in St. Louis, Missouri on February 5. Proxy

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest US public pension fund, has reportedly sold its shares in major Indian companies over their links with Iran. The Economic Times of India reported that CalPERS has exited Oil India and Petronet LNG due to their Iran-related business interests.

The United Nations’ Global Compact has released three good practice notes on human rights. They address ‘corporate human rights policies and the role of legal counsel’, ‘community engagement and investment to advance human rights in supply chains’, and ‘supporting worker empowerment in the supply chain’. The notes seek to identify general approaches that have been recognized by numerous companies and stakeholders as being good for both business and human rights. Global Compact companies are encouraged to consult Good Practice Notes and use them as resources. Link

The Conference Board, the US business membership and research association, has released a review of proxy voting data for 2008-2012. Proxy Voting Analytics (2008-2012) reviews the data of Russell 3000-listed companies. The 193-page, $395 comprehensive report, by Matteo Tonello, Melissa Aguilar and Thomas Singer, inaugurates an annual collaboration between The Conference Board and data firm FactSet Research Systems.