RI ESG Briefing, July 3: Australia’s new Clean Energy Finance Corporation backs wind projects

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


Australia’s A$10bn (€7bn) Clean Energy Finance Corporation is providing senior debt finance of $37.5m as part of a consortium of Australian and overseas financiers investing approximately $280m in a 100MW wind farm near Taralga in New South Wales. The CEFC is also investing $50m in Victoria’s 420MW Macarthur Wind Farm – the largest in the southern hemisphere – as part of a $529m debt package along with a consortium of six banks to refinance Meridian Energy’s stake in the project. Link

Trade body the Climate Markets & Investment Association (CMIA) has welcomed the positive vote today in the European Parliament in support of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) “backloading” proposal. European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard tweeted: “Common sense sometimes takes longer than it should, but normally it prevails in the end.”

Reinsurer Swiss Re Capital Markets has arranged the issue of €280m of insurance-linked securities by Irish special purpose company Green Fields II on behalf of French insurer Groupama covering windstorms in France. It was termed a “landmark transaction”.


A Dutch TV programme has accused €292bn civil service fund ABP and the €135bn healthcare pension fund PFZW of profiting from the sale of a company that allegedly helps companies avoid paying tax. It centred on the funds’ stake in Intertrust, a company with offices in Amsterdam and the Cayman Islands, according to a report on IPE.com.

Milaap Social Ventures, the South Asian impact-focused fundraising platform, says has raised an additional $1.1m in venture funding. Investors included Jungle Ventures, Toivo Annus, Lionrock, Jayesh Parekh & Unitus Seed Fund. Milaap aims to help the more than 480m Indians mostly living in the rural and semi-urban areas and who are outside of the formal banking system.h6. Governance

A new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule, mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, requiring extractives companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments, has been rejected by a US judge. District Judge John Bates said the SEC erred in its interpretation of Dodd-Frank and failed to properly consider requests for relief. Business lobby groups, including the American Petroleum Institute and US Chamber of Commerce, had filed the legal challenge. The SEC said it was reviewing Bates’ decision, according to a Reuters report, which added it was the SEC’s second major Dodd-Frank defeat.

Eumedion, the Dutch corporate governance forum, has issued its response to the new draft integrated reporting framework developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). The body, which represents major pension funds and asset managers, urges the IIRC to “refrain from formulating standards for audit and for financial reporting”. It says that if there is broad support for “monetising” environmental and social externalities, the International Accounting Standards Board should be asked to draft a new financial reporting standard. Eumedion also agrees with the IIRC’s view that the framework should not contain an obligation for companies to publish specific non-financial key performance indicators (KPIs).

The European Parliament has voted today (July 3) to tailor fund managers’ pay “to encourage them to take reasonable risks and a long-run view”. Under new “UCITS” rules, their pay would be reduced or even clawed back if funds lose money. And half of the variable part of their remuneration would be paid in the assets of their UCITS, and payment of at least a further 40% of this variable remuneration would be deferred, to encourage managers to take a long-run view. Link

Extractives giant Rio Tinto has reportedly won the dismissal of a nearly 13-year-old US lawsuit accusing it of being complicit in human rights abuses on Bougainville, the South Pacific island. The ruling came late last week from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and ends litigation begun in 2000. The ruling follows the Supreme Court’s April 17 decision in the ‘Alien Tort Statute’ case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.