RI ESG Briefing, March 7: German wind developer probed over accounting fraud

The round-up of ESG news


German wind park developer Windreich is being investigated over whether its former and current management committed accounting fraud. Windreich was founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Willi Balz, who is also its only shareholder; its portfolio includes two onshore facilities, one in Germany and one in Canada as well as three offshore facilities in the German part of the North Sea. It has admitted that an interest payment on one of its bonds had been paid after a delay of two days. The €50m bond, due to mature in 2015, is traded on the corporate debt segment of the Stuttgart stock exchange. Windreich’s other outstanding bond has a volume of €75m and will mature in 2016. Link

Low Carbon Accelerator, the London-listed clean investment vehicle, has now received its first $1m payment from buyer Sterling Planet after a delay. LCA will shortly outline to shareholders its plans for the distribution of capital, the liquidation of the Company and the cancellation of its admission to trading on the AIM market.
The UK government has made it easier for local authority pension funds to invest in infrastructure by doubling the amount they can invest to up to 30% of their assets. This could pave the way for billions to go into infra projects.


Social investment firm Bridges Ventures has sold its stake in Whelan Refining, a former redundant oil refinery in a deprived part of Stoke-on-Trent in northern England, to the company’s management team. The plant has become the first and only waste oil refining plant in the UK – recycling waste oil to produce base oil which is sold back to the lubricant industry.

Compassion in World Farming, the international farm animal welfare charity, is expanding its UK survey to Europe this year. It will enable European retailers to benchmark their farm animal welfare performance against their industry peers. End each retailer that completes the survey will have their performance analysed – and be given a feedback report to help them track their welfare performance against their peers.h6. Governance

A former equities trader at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), the giant UK fund management house, has been sentenced to two years imprisonment for disclosing inside information between October 2008 and March 2010. Paul Milsom has been sentenced after pleading guilty in January.

A proposal tabled by LGIM, on behalf Hermes Equity Ownership Services, calling for proxy access (shareholder nomination of directors) won 39.8% of the vote at Disney’s annual general meeting yesterday (March 6), according to the New York Times.

Oekom, the ESG research house, will present its latest Corporate Responsibility Review of 3000 corporate sustainability strategies at a seminar in Paris on March 26. The seminar will include presentations and debates on the essential results from the oekom survey and presentation of the related report.
The seminar runs from 8.45am to 11.30am and takes place at the Comptoir Général, 80 Quai de Jemmapes, Paris 10e. It is free to attend on a reservation basis. For details, contact Julia Haake.

Risk analysis firm Maplecroft has released its new Human Rights Due Diligence Dashboard. It aims to help multinational companies assess, prioritise, monitor and manage those areas of their value chain where the risk of human rights violations, or complicity in them, is highest. “The ability for leading companies to demonstrate they understand and are actively managing the human rights risks and impacts associated with their global footprint has never been more important,” said Managing Director of Professional Services Kevin Franklin.

Indonesia: Chinese tech firm Huawei is reportedly facing a campaign from union activists and current and former employees against claimed use of illegal foreign workers, union busting and other alleged violations of tough labour laws.

The corporate governance of companies listed on the ChiNext Board, China’s Nasdaq-style exchange, is better than those listed on small and medium-sized boards. That’s according to an industry report cited by China Daily.