RI ESG Briefing, March 12: NZ Super Fund doubles stake in ‘Bloom Box’ firm

The round-up of ESG news


The NZ$25bn (€15.2bn) New Zealand Superannuation Fund has made an additional US$50m investment in Bloom Energy, a maker of on-site power generation systems using fuel cell technology (the ‘Bloom Box’). It follows an initial $50m investment in Bloom in May 2013. Matt Whineray, General Manager Investments for the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, said the investment would help the Fund take advantage of increasing demand for energy globally. He added: “Alongside our traditional energy investments we’re actively diversifying into alternative and non-conventional energy.”

ERAFP, the €18bn 100% SRI French pension fund, has commissioned Trucost to carry out the first carbon audit of its investments in listed equities. The analysis showed that ERAFP’s consolidated equity portfolio had a carbon intensity of 329 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per million euros of sales. The carbon intensity of ERAFP’s portfolio is 19% lower than that of the MSCI All World Index, partly reflecting the fund’s best-in-class ESG strategy. ERAFP also publicly affirmed its support for a minimum 40% reduction in GHG emissions in Europe by 2030 and its in-depth reform of the EU emission trading scheme

Solactive, the Germany-based index provider, has launched a green bond index in partnership with Climate Bonds Initiative, the not-for-profit organization working at mobilizing the bond market for climate change solutions. All bonds that are categorized as green bonds are part of the overall universe; criteria for selection are issues with at least $100m outstanding and at least six months remaining time to maturity. Convertible bonds and inflation linked bonds are excluded. Link


Bridges Ventures has published its methodology for integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts into investment decisions in its latest IMPACT report. Bridges said the information aimed to help investors looking to invest in companies and projects that deliver a positive social and/or environmental impact as well as financial returns.

Social Finance, the non-profit organization for mobilising investment capital into social projects, has advised Empower Community on a £10m loan from a large institutional investor to buy and manage over 2300 solar photo-voltaic panels for social housing owned by the Gentoo Housing Association in Sunderland, in one of the first large scale socially focused institutional investments into solar energy for social housing. The loan will enable the Gentoo Group to roll out solar PV panels to an additional 3000 homes. Profits from the deal will be reinvested in the local community.h6. Governance

Shareholders in UK-listed transport group National Express have submitted a shareholder proposal calling on it to improve oversight and increase transparency concerning the company’s human capital management policies and practices. More than 100 Teamster shareholders, the Teamsters General Fund and Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) members – Greater Manchester, London Borough of Islington and Nottinghamshire County Council – are co-sponsoring the resolution. These LAPFF members hold 3m shares of National Express. The proposal is intended to go before the firm’s AGM on May 15.

New York federal judge Lorna Schofield has dismissed a proposed class action brought by the DeKalb County Pension Fund against drilling firm Transocean, according to Law360.com. The investors had claimed they were deceived about the company’s safety practices when it bought fellow drilling business GlobalSantaFe Corp., the report added.

Shareholders in US technology firm Apple have overwhelmingly approved a proposal by the $283.5 billion (€206.1bn) California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) to require that candidates for uncontested seats on Apple’s board receive a majority of votes order to be elected. The measure was backed by Apple.

French fund manager, Fédéris Gestion d’actifs (FGA), a subsidiary of Malakoff Médéric, the mutual group, has joined the French SIF, Forum pour l’Investissement Responsible’s investor group. It will be represented by Philippe Aurain, Deputy Managing Director at FGA. Separately, FGA has also retained Mirova, a subsidiary of Natixis Asset Management dedicated to responsible investment, as its advisor for shareholder voting and corporate engagement.

The Norwegian Government Pension Fund is reportedly examining the operations of French oil giant Total in the disputed Western Sahara region to gauge whether its activities there are unethical. The news was reported by Reuters, which cited an interview with Ola Mestad, the chair of the fund’s Ethics Council.

The Governance Center Task Force on Corporate/Investor Engagement, an initiative of the US-based Conference Board business group, has called for investor engagement to rebuild corporate trust and drive economic growth. The task force was co-chaired by Pat Russo, a director at Alcoa, General Motors, Hewlett Packard, and Merck and Simon Lorne.