RI ESG Briefing, July 24: US SIF launches climate change guide for investors

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


The US SIF Foundation has released Investing to Curb Climate Change: A Guide for the Individual Investor, which seeks to meet the increasing interest of a wide range of investors in using their investment dollars to address the risks of climate change and to help generate solutions. A similar guide for institutional investors will be published on July 29 and will “delve more into private equity and alternative investments”.

AXA Private Equity’s wind arm Kallista says it has completed a wind farm project in the Ardouval Park in the Seine-Maritime region of France. The project has been 100% equity financed and developed in-house. The farm, which includes five new Nordex wind turbine facilities, provides a capacity of 12MW and is the first Greenfield project for Kallista since 2010.

Climate Change Capital founder James Cameron is reportedly planning to set up a clean energy company capable of raising the billions. Business Green quoted him saying he is interested in “building a substantial pure play renewable energy company” and that his team has met with players in the UK’s offshore wind industry, the government and institutional investors. Climate Change Capital was sold to US agribusiness Bunge last year.

Japan’s ORIX Corp., the financial services group which recently acquired Robeco, has said it will develop a solar power generation business with a maximum output of 5.6MW using the rooftops of 18 locations owned by freight operator Seino Holdings.


Erste Asset Management, the Austria-based fund group with around €46bn in assets under management, says it has signed the “Bangladesh Memorandum” coordinated by the Interfaith Center of Corporate Responsibility in the wake of a series of disasters in the country’s textile industry. Wolfgang Pinner, Erste’s Head of Sustainable Fund Management, said: “We can see the worst kind of violations of labour laws and work safety in the textile industry. And we now intend to tackle this situation as investors.”

The European Union’s new European Social Entrepreneurship Funds (EuSEF) regime came into force on July 22 along with the more widely known Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. The new rules will create a pan-EU passport, with uniform criteria, for all fund operators that invest in social businesses. The funds will explicitly have making a “measurable and positive social impact” as their focus. The idea is to help foster a social investment market in the EU as investors increasingly pursue social goals and not just financial returns.h6. Governance

CalSTRS, the California State Teachers Retirement System, has voted against the entire 12-strong board slate at National Grid, the UK’s electricity transmission network. The company holds its AGM on July 29 and it means the fund has voted against CEO Steve Holliday, Chairman Sir Peter Gershon and other luminaries such as former government minister Ruth Kelly.

The US District Court in Washington has reportedly rejected a legal challenge brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business lobby groups over the Securities and Exchange Commission’s disclosure requirement for companies using “conflict minerals”. It said the plaintiffs’ claims lack merit. It means that the rules SEC’s rules go forward as they currently stand.

Corporate governance pioneer Robert Monks, the co-founder of Institutional Shareholder Services, has won the first ever Frankel Fiduciary Prize from the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, a US think tank founded in 2011. “Bob Monks has been an outspoken advocate and prolific author on corporate governance, transparency and democracy. At the heart of much of his work has been restoring management accountability to shareholders, the ultimate owners,” noted Institute President Knut Rostad.

Eurosif, the European Social Investment Forum, has responded to the consultation on the International Integrated Reporting Council’s international framework. The body believes that the proposal offers a strong basis for a combined approach to corporate reporting to embed sustainability in corporate strategy and management practices. But it adds integrated reporting “should not the seen as a standalone complement to existing information or report. It should ultimately be the standard for corporate annual reports”. And the role of quantitative performance indicators “should be stressed more prominently throughout the framework”.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, the Arizona-based mining company, says it plans to conduct a corporate-level human rights impact assessment, as well as communicate clear expectations to supply chain partners through a new supplier code of conduct. The company, whose operations have been the target of engagement from investors, made the comments in its latest corporate sustainability report.