RI ESG Briefing, July 5: APG responds to Rio+20 summit

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news

Environmental

Claudia Kruse, Head of Governance and Sustainability at Dutch pension management giant APG, has given her perspective on the recent Rio+20 summit in a blog posting. “From an investors’ perspective it is absolutely critical that integrated reporting is positioned firmly within the realm of value creation and in a manner that speaks to the boards and financial (reporting) departments of companies,” she says.

Environmental campaign group WWF has unveiled what it termed a new investment model to recover marine ecosystems. WWF recently published Raising the “Sunken Billions”: Financing the transition to sustainable fisheries in Marine Policy detailing the establishment of a Financial Institution for the Recovery of Marine Ecosystems (FIRME) as a full-scale solution that finances conservation without adversely impacting livelihoods. Link
The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations – IDDRI has jointly published with the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) a research paper titled: ‘Green investments in a European Growth Package.’ Its aim is to analyze the role and instruments for green investments and how they could fit into an economic growth strategy. Link

Social

CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, has cited environmental, social and governance issues as part of its decision to take a one-third stake in US real estate advisory firm Bentall Kennedy. The largest US pension fund invested $100m in the firm and said: “Bentall Kennedy has a track record of fiduciary excellence and is a global leader in environmental, social and governance practices.”

Index and research firm MSCI has launched MSCI ESG Portfolio Analytics, a new reporting tool for fund managers and pension funds who want to assess the environmental, social and governance (ESG) characteristics and risk profile of their equity portfolios. MSCI says investors can use it to satisfy reporting needs, including those of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, conduct internal ESG risk assessment; and identify targets for company engagement. Asset owners can also use the reports to enhance the manager selection process.
EthicalMarkets.com has produced a Green Transition Scoreboard video as a three-minute easy introduction to how the green economy is developing. Link. Governance

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the US financial regulator, says it will hold an Open Meeting on August 22 to consider whether to adopt rules on the disclosure and reporting of conflict minerals. The SEC will also look at rules around the disclosure of payments to governments made by extractives companies. Both issues come under the Dodd-Frank Act. Announcement

GES Investment Services, the environmental, social and governance firm, has revealed an engagement success with Russian power giant RusHydro. It said the company has proven very responsive to international investors’ concerns regarding a 2009 Siberian power plant accident that killed 75 people. GES said: “After nearly three years of constructive engagement, an on-site visit by GES provided the final proof to resolve the case. RusHydro acknowledges the value of the dialogue with GES in this process.”

A new tool has been launched to enable investors to evaluate the chemical industry by Sweden-based environmental NGO ChemSec. Its new Chemicals Criteria Catalogue aims to be first of its kind to cover all aspects of chemical risks and opportunities for chemical manufacturers, and entails both exclusion criteria and positive criteria with 38 indicators. Link

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has published a report titled Labour and Human Rights standards in Corporate Australia, sponsored by LUCRF Super pension fund and prepared by MSCI ESG Research. The report suggests that there are significant gaps in awareness among Australian companies as to the extent of their risk exposure in this area.

The Canadian Foundation for the Advancement of Investor Rights, FAIR Canada, says it will continue to get funding from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), who have committed C$500,000 (€398,716) and $350,000 respectively.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a consultation paper on proposed guidelines on remuneration of alternative investment fund managers. The consultation runs until the end of September and ESMA aims to publish a final report before the end of 2012.