RI ESG Briefing, Oct 25: Investors press oil companies on Myanmar Rohingya crisis

The round-up of the latest ESG developments.


Royal Bank of Scotland, Investec, Aviva Investors and one other major institutional investor have together acted as lenders on a £250m refinancing of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners’ two UK biomass power plants. The fund has provided equity, preferred equity and senior debt for the development and construction of the two plants. “We were very pleased to work with CIP on this investment, which provides a good match for the strong demand we see from pension funds for assets that deliver reliable, long-dated cash flows with appropriate risk-adjusted returns,” said Sarah Wall, Senior Portfolio Manager, Alternative Income Solutions at Aviva Investors. CIP’s funds are backed by leading Danish pension investors.

Nearly three-quarters of investment professionals worldwide (73%) take ESG factors into consideration in the investment process, according to a new survey by the CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals. The Global Perceptions of Environmental, Social, and Governance Investing survey, conducted in May 2017, also found that 66% of respondents said they would consider ESG factors in their analysis and decisions if investors demanded it.

The CDP has released its latest report, which finds that the number of multinationals using an internal carbon price has leapt eightfold in four years, and now accounts for 1300 companies worth $7trn. 1,389 companies now use an internal carbon price – representing more than a fifth of Fortune Global 500 companies.

Kommunivest, Aviva, and the IFC have been awarded the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Climate Solutions Award. In total, 19 initiatives were given the accolade for their efforts to address climate change. Kommuninvest, the Swedish local government funding agency, was named for its Green Bond Framework that gives Swedish municipalities and county councils access to green funding. Insurance and asset management giant, Aviva was recognised for its efforts to offset its entire operational emissions.

Over a quarter of the 1,675 companies that owned or developed coal-fired power capacity since 2010 have entirely left the coal power business, according to new research by climate NGOs CoalSwarm and Greenpeace.


Europe’s Pillar of Social Rights has been given the green light. It is a political commitment, setting out 20 principles and rights, that aims at strengthening the “social acquis and delivering more effective rights to citizens”. It got the nod from EU Employment and Social Policy ministers and will now be signed off during the Summit for fair jobs and growth in Gothenburg on 17 November.

The Bretton Woods II program at New America has unveiled a new ranking of the world’s most responsible sovereign wealth (SWF) and government pension (GPF) funds (click for website). The initiative, developed in partnership with the Global Development Incubator, Dalberg, and the Fletcher School at Tufts, analyzed over 120 funds comprising $20 trillion in assets, ultimately identifying 25 SWFs and GPFs that set a global standard for leadership.h6. Governance

A group of investors and stakeholders has called on energy companies doing business in Myanmar/Burma to reassess their dealings in light of a crackdown on the ethnic Rohingya minority. Organized by the International Campaign for the Rohingya and Azzad Asset Management, letters signed by 31 investor organizations representing more than $53bn were sent to executives at six oil and gas companies, emphasizing the serious risks of doing business with the Myanmar regime. Commodities make up a majority of Myanmar’s exports and are often controlled in whole or part by the armed forces. The campaign is headed by Simon Billenness, Executive Director of the International Campaign for the Rohingya.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), manager of Norway’s giant oil fund, has sharply criticised UK plans to loosen its stock market listing rules in a bid to attract the IPO of Saudi Aramco, the FT reports. NBIM, which has £44bn invested in UK equities, warned the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that the proposal to create a “premium” listing that would exempt companies controlled by governments from some rules could harm minority shareholders. The FCA’s consultation on the issue closed earlier this month and the watchdog is expected to make a final policy statement at the end of the year.

The Council of Institutional Investors (CII), the US investor body, has published a new guide to effective shareholder meetings. It says that a physical meeting remains a cornerstone of effective corporate governance, and new technology opens the possibility of broader participation. Build a Better Meeting provides straight-forward guidance on how companies can strengthen the integrity of this time-honored and valuable event, and ensure its relevance for shareholders.

The shipping industry has “obstructed climate change action” in the sector through “aggressively lobbying” the United Nations, according to a new report by InfluenceMap, a UK based campaign group. It was released as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN shipping body, negotiated its future climate change strategy. The European Parliament estimates that the sector could be responsible for 17% of global greenhouse emissions by 2050, up from nearly 3% currently.

ESG intelligence firm RepRisk has launched a new feature in its ESG Risk Platform: The RepRisk UN Global Compact (UNGC) Violator Flag. It identifies companies that have a high risk or potential risk of violating one or more of the ten UNGC Principles. CEO Philipp Aeby said the offering “helps professionals in the areas of risk, compliance, portfolio management, and procurement assess whether the companies they do business with comply with internal policies and international standards”.