RI ESG Briefing, October 16: New Asia-Pacific climate finance body planned

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


The Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), the forum set up by the Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA), has teamed up with German development agency GIZ to launch the Alliance for Public Private Climate Finance Asia-Pacific in Jakarta on November 7. The alliance aims to improve the policy and investment environment for climate finance in the Asia-Pacific; it will involve dialogue with both public and private sector investors and policy makers, research and analysis, policy advice and supporting capacity development for financial and government institutions.
A group co-led by Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Canada has financed a 265MW California wind project being developed by San Francisco-based Pattern Energy. Other investors in the loan deal include the North American Development Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale and Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale. The Ocotillo project will use 112 Siemens turbines and is expected to be complete early next year. Link

Denmark’s PensionDanmark plans to set up a new renewable energy investment fund called Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. It will initially commit €800m for investments in energy-related assets other than wind energy over the next three to four years.


The World Federation of Exchanges is looking at environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues at its 52nd General Assembly currently underway in Taipei. On the agenda is an ESG panel, moderated by WFE’s operating chief Peter Clifford, including Nicky Newton-King, CEO of Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Edemir Pinto, CEO of Brazil’s BM&FBOVESPA; and Paul Abberley, Chief Executive of Aviva Investors. Link

The European Commission is to contribute €18m over five years to the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund to help CEPF’s efforts to empower civil society to conserve the world’s most critical ecosystems. The Commission joins the fund’s six other partners—l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank and takes total contributions to $270m since CEPF’s inception in 2000.h6. Governance

Rebekah Brooks, the former CEO at News Corp.’s News International UK media arm, received a pay-off of more than £7m following her resignation in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, the Financial Times has reported. The news comes as the company is set to face investors at its annual general meeting today (October 16), with several major institutional investors set to vote for an independent chairman at the media giant.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed what’s claimed to be the first lawsuit against an investment bank – Morgan Stanley – alleging discrimination relating to subprime lending. The pressure group says the bank “discriminated against black homeowners and violated federal civil rights laws by providing strong incentives to a subprime lender to originate mortgages that were likely to be foreclosed on”. It has filed the suit in US District Court in New York. Announcement

The Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility has launched a new research report. Materiality: A Stakeholders’ Perspective examines whether current sustainability reports are passing the materiality test and meeting the needs and expectations of stakeholders. “Our research shows that stakeholders don’t necessarily want more information, but they want better information,” the group says.

Four of the 10 largest shareholders at custodian banking giant State Street are “agitating” to remove either its CEO Jay Hooley or finance head Edward Resch, the FT reports without naming the investors. The paper says some of the investors have “communicated their discontent” to the board.

The Vital Few is a new social media platform developed by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project to assist pension and super fund members to challenge climate risk taking and excessive short-termism in the global financial system. It’s hoped it will allow pension fund members to drive transparency and accountability in “the largest pool of investment capital in the world”. “Sitting atop the wealth chain, the pension industry has continued its fast and furious spending spree on high-carbon, high-risk investments with little accountability for their impact on the long-term financial security of both individuals and the broader economy,” said AODP Executive Director Julian Poulter. Link