RI ESG Briefing, July 11: Japan plans €500bn green energy market

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


The Japanese government has plans to create a JPY50trn (€511bn) green energy market by 2020, according to a Reuters report citing draft strategy documents. It would be achieved through deregulation and subsidies to promote renewable energy and low-emission cars.

Spanish bank Santander, through its US subsidiary Sovereign Bank, and Prudential Financial’s Prudential Capital Group have closed a $444m (euro) financing for a 200MW wind power project in Illinois being developed by Chicago-based energy firm Invenergy. It is the second deal using an innovative hybrid structure first implemented for the 127MW Arlington Valley Solar Energy II facility in Arizona. Link

Rabobank says the Netherlands is not on track to reach its renewable goal by 2020. The bank estimates that another €24bn is needed from investors if it is to reach its goal of having renewable energies account for 14% of electricity output by 2020. Rabobank said the €12bn in current investment will only ensure that renewables account for 9% of electricity consumption eight years from now.


Purpose Capital, the Toronto-based social finance consultant, has published a study into the issues and opportunities for social finance in the Canadian financial sector. Redefining Returns: Social Finance Awareness and Opportunities in the Canadian Financial Sector was commissioned by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) has published profiles of 10 real impact investments – highlighting key details including sector, region, and investment instrument. The profiles are contributed by GIIN Investors’ Council members and written from the investors’ perspectives. Link. Governance

Major shareholders in beleaguered UK banking group Barclays have called for an external chairman to replace the outgoing Marcus Agius, according to the Financial Times. The FT said three “top 10 investors” reckon it would be unacceptable for the new chairman to come from inside.

Of the nearly 110 shareholder resolutions tracked by investor coalition Ceres in 2012, 44 resulted in US companies making commitments to tackle environmental and social risks in their operations and supply chains. Among the highlights were Colgate and Smucker’s agreeing to source 100% certified sustainable palm oil to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts and protect threatened habitats and species. Other successes included Anadarko, EOG Resources, Chesapeake Energy, Penn Virginia, Range Resources and Stone Energy. A full list, including information on filers, votes and complete resolution text, is available here

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan’s biggest listed bank, has suspended two London-based traders as part of a probe into the manipulation of the Libor rate. The move relates to the traders’ former activities at the Netherlands’ Rabobank, reports stated.

US industrial bellwether General Electric (GE) says it has seen an “emergence” of investor queries on environmental, social and governance issues. The comments come from GE’s Christoph Pereira, Chief Corporate, Securities & Finance Counsel, and Lori Zykowski, Executive Counsel, Corporate, Securities & Finance in a governance briefing with law firm Davis Polk. “It’s easy to get caught off guard if you are not in tune with your shareholders,” they say.