RI ESG Briefing, June 8: Rothschild arm commits to ESG, signs up to PRI

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


Brazilian exchange operator BM&FBOVESPA has signed an agreement with the São Paulo State Government’s Environment Secretariat and the Environmental Agency of São Paulo State (CETESB) to study “institutional and regulatory measures” to develop the environmental assets market. The initial focus is on the Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Legal Reserve Compensation segments, they said.

Green Century Capital Management, the US environmental investing advisory firm, says it is on track to vote in favour of 100% of resolutions at this year’s company annual meetings that call for increased climate impact disclosure and better climate change management.

German development bank KfW has teamed up with a regional bank from the state of Brandenburg to provide €150m in loans to local firms and individuals that want to invest in onshore wind power. It will raise the sum on the capital markets for the regional bank to disburse in the form of loans. KfW board member Axel Nawrath said the conditions for onshore wind power in Brandenburg were ideal, adding that the loans were an important step in Germany’s move toward renewable power.


The Calvert Foundation has found that an “overwhelming majority” of financial advisors believe that sustainable and impact investments could help their business. Its new Gateways to Impact report found they were willing to recommend sustainable investments to roughly a third of their clients and would allocate 10-20% of those portfolios to these products – which indicates a market potential of $650bn.

Index provider Dow Jones Indexes says online auction firm eBay and sportswear maker Nike will be among the additions to its Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans 100 Index. Oil field services group Baker Hughes, industrial giant Corning Inc. and upstream energy firm Marathon Oil would be deleted. Link

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) has released a case study showing how the $25m African Agricultural Capital Fund met investors’ financial and social objectives. Investors included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, J.P. Morgan and the Rockefeller Foundation; the fund manager is Pearl Capital Partners. The report is called Diverse Perspectives, Shared Objective. Governance

Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, the France-based investment group with €950m under management, has become a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and says it is rolling out an environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy. The company, part of the wider Edmond de Rothschild Group, says it “wishes to systematically integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into its investment criteria and its actions as a shareholder”. Link

The $3.5bn Vermont Pension Investment Committee is seeking an advisor to assist it in its policy on investments in terrorist and genocide-linked countries, according to a new request for proposal (RFP). The deadline for responses is June 27. Link

Stephen Griggs, the former chief executive of Canadian UN PRI signatory the C$13.7bn (€10.6bn) Ontario government employee pension fund OPTrust, has filed suit against it for wrongful dismissal, according to a report in the Toronto Globe & Mail. Griggs, the former executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance and CEO of funds firm Legg Mason Canada, parted company with the OPTrust in April.

The US financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is reportedly planning to issue guidance on how investors should use proxy advisory firms. The Wall Street Journal said it follows “a slew of complaints” from companies that proxy firms such as Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis present inaccurate or misleading information in their recommendations.

Campaign group Fair Pensions has taken a look at the state of play so far in the annual general meeting season, querying the extent of the “shareholder spring”. In a blog post, it reiterated its call for the mandatory disclosure of shareholders’ voting – which it said would be “immensely useful in analysing voter behaviour and would help to identify where better stewardship is needed”.

A separate review of the proxy season in the US by law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell found that the company annual meeting season “has in fact been less tumultuous than expected”. The review – its Mid-Season Update on the 2012 Proxy Season by Richard Sandler, co-head of the firm’s global corporate governance group – is available here.