RI ESG Briefing, July 18: Delaware introduces public benefit corporation legislation

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


Macquarie Capital has sold a 21.9MW California solar project portfolio to D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments and Bright Plain Renewable Energy. “Solar power provides a clean and reliable source of energy to serve our growing energy demand while reducing the need for imported fossil fuels,” said Bryan Martin, managing director at D. E. Shaw, the $30bn global investment and technology development firm. Bright Plain was founded in 2011 by industry veterans David Buzby and William Lee. Announcement

Germany’s first commercial wind park in the North Sea, the 108 MW Riffgat facility, has been constructed and will begin operating once 15km of cable is lain by Dutch grid connector Tennet. Riffgat was constructed in 14 months by EWE, an energy firm based in Oldenburg and Enova, a project developer from Germany’s East Frisian region. The total investment borne by EWE was put at €450m. The 30 turbines for the park, which is located 15 km to the northwest of the German island of Borkum, were made by Siemens.

China’s government has suggested that solar power generation be boosted by 75% by 2015, according to a China Daily report citing the State Council. It said the country’s photovoltaic power generation capacity should reach 35GW – more than triple current levels.


The FMO, the Dutch development bank, has teamed up with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and Germany’s KfW to commit around €4.1m for the establishment of microfinance provider AB Bank Rwanda (ABR). Having recently received preliminary approval for a microfinance bank license, ABR is currently in the pre-operational phase and expects to open its doors to the public in the fourth quarter of 2013. ABR aims to be a socially responsible bank for the “lower and middle income strata” of Rwandan society.h6. Governance

Delaware Governor Jack Markell has signed new legislation enabling the formation of public benefit corporations in the state. It opens the way for companies domiciled in the state to change their legal structure to a for-profit structure that benefits the ‘public and planet’. Delaware is home to 50% of all US public companies and two thirds of all Fortune 500 companies. “We’ve all heard about corporations wanting to ‘do well’ while also ‘doing good.’ With this new law, Delaware corporations will now have the ability to build those dual purposes into their governing documents,” Markell said.

A new Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by environmental disclosure body CDP [the former Carbon Disclosure Project], its Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) arm and the International Integrated Reporting Council, which promotes the coordination of sustainability and financial reporting. It follows similar agreements recently involving the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and the Global Reporting Initiative.

The board of Brazilian exchange BM&FBOVESPA has approved its four-pronged Sustainability Policy, which includes Market, Environmental, Social, and Corporate governance and covers both internal management and relations with stakeholder groups. “This Policy reaffirms the strategic importance of sustainability to our company,” said exchange CEO Edemir Pinto. “It will be an internal and external driver of progress on the sustainability agenda, informing our activities both as a public corporation and as an inductive agent of best practice in the Brazilian market.”

French public pension fund ERAFP, the €14bn wholly SRI investor, has released its summary report on voting at Annual General Meetings in 2013. ERAFP enhanced its guidelines on shareholder engagement and voting in March last year – meaning that this year its asset managers voted in line with this policy this year at 40 company meetings.

Investors in UK transport group FirstGroup have reportedly staged a shareholder revolt at the company’s annual meeting, over lower profits, a rights issue and executive pay. Almost 30% of shareholders failed to back the remuneration report while 27.8% declined to back the re-election of chairman Martin Gilbert, who also heads fund firm Aberdeen Asset Management.