RI ESG Briefing, July 4: London Array, world’s largest offshore windfarm, opens

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


The London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, officially opens today (July 4). The 175-turbine facility off the coast of Kent in southern England is a project of Denmark’s DONG Energy, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and Germany’s E.ON. Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “A huge win for Kent and the whole of the UK.”

Research group the Cleantech Group says that worldwide clean technology venture investment during the second quarter this year totalled $1.76bn, up 56% on the first quarter’s $1.1bn. “President Obama’s Climate Action address has reenergized the cleantech industry, and our … data—in addition to the strong performance of Solar City and Tesla—underscores our belief that we are turning a corner,” said CEO Sheeraz Haji.

The US government’s Department of the Interior has granted approval for a 500MW wind energy project in Arizona proposed by BP Wind Energy North America. The 243-turbine Mohave County Wind Farm will be located on federal lands in northwestern Arizona. The department has approved 46 wind, solar, and geothermal utility-scale projects on public lands since 2009 and has identified 14 additional renewable energy proposals that are slated for review this year and next.


UK-based Standard Chartered Bank has announced a $5.7m loan to Bank Andara, an Indonesian institution that provides wholesale services to microfinance institutions (MFIs) and savings services to individuals. Founded in 2008, Bank Andara’s shareholders include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Hivos-Triodos Fund, Cordaid and Germany’s KfW. Link

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, the human rights information hub, has launched its first briefing on business and freedom of association. The 15-page document provides an overview of companies’ impacts on freedom of association and highlights concerns raised by civil society, company responses to allegations of misconduct, positive initiatives by business, and developments in law, policy and lawsuits.h6. Governance

US banking giants J.P.Morgan Chase and Bank of New York Mellon have had suits brought against them by pension fund clients and shareholders over alleged overcharging for foreign exchange trading dropped. The former was led by the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System, and sought class-action status on behalf of pension fund custodial clients. The latter was led by the Iron Workers Mid-South Pension Fund, according to a Reuters report.

The First National Bank and Trust Co., a community bank based in Illinois, has reportedly filed a putative class action against rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s saying they inflated ratings on residential mortgage-backed securities. The action alleges that they knowingly or recklessly issued inflated ratings on RMBS, according to a report on Law360.com.

The European Parliament kept up the pressure for a comprehensive financial transaction tax in 11 EU countries. A resolution on the issue was passed by 522 votes to 141, with 42 abstentions at a vote yesterday (July 3). In addition a new legal ownership principle was inserted to make tax avoidance more costly, the Parliament said, adding: “It is now up to the 11 member states participating in the enhanced cooperation arrangement to reach a deal.” Link

Investment research and portfolio analysis provider Style Research has integrated MSCI’s ESG Research analysis and ratings onto its Enterprise platform, allowing users to “better understand the ESG risks and opportunities across portfolios”. Style Research, founded in 1996, has a client base of more than 300 international investment institutions in 25 countries. Announcement

The Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG) will present its ninth annual Governance Gavel Awards this August, under three categories. They are: Best Disclosure of Board Governance Practices and Director Qualifications; Best Disclosure of Approach to Executive Compensation; Best Disclosure of Governance Practices and Approach to Executive Compensation by a Small or Mid-Sized Issuer.