RI ESG Briefing, Sept. 11: EIB green bond, PensionDanmark, Sedex

The latest environmental, social and governance news

Environmental

The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced last week that it is increasing its November 2019 Climate Awareness Bond by a further €250m. The bond is now worth at least €900m, which makes it the largest green bond issued to date.

French state investor the Caisse des Dépôts has made a €28m loan with a 19-year duration to a biomass cogeneration power plant in Angers, France. The plant delivers heating to 13,000 households. The wood-burning heater reduces CO2 emissions and the cost of heating for the tenants of social housing in the district.

German wind park developer Windreich has filed for insolvency and its founder and chief executive Willi Balz has stepped down with immediate effect. The move provides Windreich, which has amassed around €300m in debt, protection from creditors for three months while it seeks to avoid bankruptcy. Windreich said Balz’s departure “cleared the way” for its restructuring, which includes deciding the fate of “MEG I,” a 400MW wind park to be constructed 45km off the German coast. If Windreich cannot successfully restructure itself over the next three months, it will be declared bankrupt.

Allianz Capital Partners (ACP) has acquired the French wind farm “Haut Chemin” on behalf of its parent insurer Allianz. Previously owned by French company EOLERES SA, specialized in renewable energies, it will be operational by summer 2014. The price of the transaction has not been communicated.

Social

PensionDanmark, a multi-employer Danish pension scheme that has DKK10bn (€1.3bn) in assets invested in Danish real estate, has called on the nation’s building industry to establish a code ensuring “socially responsible construction.” The scheme said the signatories to the code would, among other things, emphasise occupational health and safety during construction projects. As a major domestic property investor, PensionDanmark said it would use its influence to get employer and employee representatives from the building industry to develop the compact. By 2015, PensionDanmark plans to raise its exposure to Danish real estate to 10% of assets (total: €18.5bn) from the 7% currently.h6. Governance

A report by Sedex, the responsible supply chain specialist, and Vérité, the labour standards NGO, has found that many companies fail to comply with fire-safety measures, posing a serious ESG risk for investors. The briefing, said the problem is as common in developed as emerging markets. It provides an overview of the type of actions purchasers and suppliers can take to improve the safety of factories, with a focus on risk and performance management.

The Expert Corporate Governance Service (ECGS) reports that airline operator Ryanair is lagging behind companies listed on the London Stock Exchange in terms of governance and transparency. It also notes that Ryanair does not have a dedicated section to sustainability in its annual report.

The Irish Central Bank has announced that it is examining introducing new rules to push financial institutions to appoint more women on their boards. By changing its corporate governance rules, it hopes to diversify the boardrooms of Irish companies.

Mariner Investment Group, the US-based alternatives firm with $10bn under management, has become a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). It has also begun to incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research, ratings, and screening tools developed by MSCI.

The Rosen Law Firm has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of investors who purchased securities of PetroChina Co. Ltd. The suit alleges issued materially false and misleading statements about the Company’s business and operations. More details here.

JP Morgan Chase & Co has announced that it has appointed a Lead Independent Director as part of ‘enhancements’ to its Corporate Governance Principles. Lee R. Raymond, formerly Presiding Director, continues as the new Lead Independent Director. The bank has also elected Linda B. Bammann and Michael A. Neal as directors of the company.

Fourteen events have already been confirmed at the Italian SRI week. The event will take place in November in Milan and tackle issues such as climate change, engagement and impact investing. More details available are available here.