RI ESG Briefing, Nov. 22: Dutch central bank, CalPERS, Ontario Teachers, Newton IM, EFAMA

Round-up of the latest ESG developments.


Dutch central bank De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has released a report exploring the “impact of climate-related risks on the Dutch financial sector”. The report, Waterproof? An exploration of climate-related risks for the Dutch financial sector, states that the impacts of climate change “can already be increasingly felt” and that financial institutions “must increasingly factor in the consequences of a changing climate and the transition to a carbon-neutral economy”.

European fund industry body EFAMA, the European Fund and Asset Management Association, has reasserted its industry’s commitment to the global effort against climate change two years after the landmark adoption of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. It states on its website that: “We fully support the goal of the Conference of Parties (COP 23) and the Paris One Planet Summit as important next steps in helping keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius”.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Canada’s CAD$180bn profession-specific pension fund, has announced the acquisition of Atlantic Aqua Farms, the largest grower of live mussels in North America, from San Francisco-based private equity firm, Encore Consumer Capital. The purchase marks the fund’s first venture into “aquaculture” and falls under its natural resources mandate.

Newton Investment Management has joined the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Europe’s investor climate body. “We recognise that navigating the risks and opportunities associated with climate change on behalf of our clients is a significant task that must lie at the heart of our investment decision-making,” said CEO Hanneke Smits.


Toronto-based Social Venture Connexion (SVX) has launched an ethical investment platform on the Toronto Stock Exchange and announced a community of new issuers. Listings on the platform include the First Nations Bank of Canada that plans to raise up to $7m to support a portfolio of loans to Aboriginal-owned businesses and the Immigrant Access Fund that provides microloans to skilled immigrants to pay for retraining to work in Canada.

Britain’s Prince Charles is reportedly backing a $10m development impact bond (DIB) being developed by the British Asian Trust, a charity he founded to tackle poverty in South Asia. The DIB will aim to provide education to marginalised children with investor returns are tied to the performance of social outcomes. Dubbed the Education Development Impact Bond, the British Asian Trust is working on the product with the UBS Optimus Foundation.h6. Governance

The California Public Employees Retirement System(CalPERS), the $340bn giant US pension fund, has been criticised by former Californian Congress member Henry Waxman for investing close to $400m in palm oil companies known for “burning and bulldozing the world’s rainforests”. In an article for the Sacramento Bee, he expresses his ‘disappointment’ at the funds climate blind-spot when it comes to deforestation. Deforestation, according to Waxman, is second only to burning fossil fuels as the leading cause of global greenhouse gas emissions, with some 80 percent of global deforestation driven by agribusiness.

The West Palm Beach Firefighters’ Pension Fund has filed a securities class action against SCANA Corporation, the US energy holding company, according to its law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann. The suit alleges the company falsely stated that the construction of two nuclear reactors at the Company’s Virgil C. Summer generating station was progressing well.

The European Commission is set to publish proposals that would compel EU companies whose non-executive directors are more than 60% male to prioritise women when considering candidates of equal merit, the Guardian reports. Previous attempts by the EU’s executive to set a 40% goal for women in the top ranks of listed companies have been blocked by Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden overs fears that Brussels was overreaching into domestic affairs.

Societe Generale’s Securities Services arm has launched a new ESG reporting tool designed to measure investment strategies’ impact on society. Using MSCI’s data and methodology the tool will let institutional investors and asset managers rate their investments against a broad set of ESG indicators – including CO2 emissions, board composition, executives’ salary, as well as workforce management and producer responsibility.

The UK Government’s premium bonds provider NS&I has invited financial advice firms to respond to a tender to provide their services to the winners of its two monthly £1m jackpot prizes. NS&I Premium Bonds are a saving product whereby interest is awarded through a lottery.

French bank Natixis is one of six banks to have bought $470m in funding notes from Trafigura Commodities Financing, a special purpose vehicle created by commodities trader Trafigura, the FT reports. Proceeds of the notes – also bought by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Australia’s Westpac – will be used to buy crude oil and refined metal inventories from Trafigura. The firm is attempting to securitise its stocks of refined metals and crude oil to help raise cash for trading, as tougher regulations raise the cost of financing.