RI ESG Briefing, September 2: Thomson Reuters launches European ESG index family

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news


Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SuMi Trust) has provided financing for two new solar projects in Japan totalling 34MW planned by Toronto and Sweden-listed Etrion Corporation and Hitachi High-Technologies. Kengo Noguchi, SuMi Trust’s general manager, Structured Finance, said: “SuMi Trust is committed to supporting the country’s shift to clean energy and we look forward to assisting Etrion and Hitachi High-Tech as they execute their growth plans, bringing more solar projects into the energy mix in Japan.” Hitachi and Etrion are targeting a total of 300MW by 2017.

Consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY) has announced that it is buying Australian sustainability consulting firm Net Balance, for an undisclosed sum. EY Asia-Pacific Climate Change and Sustainability Leader Mathew Nelson said the addition of Net Balance, including the company’s founder and Director Terence Jeyaretnam would see EY Australia’s national dedicated Climate Change and Sustainability Services team grow to more than 90 people. Announcement

Swedish windpower outfit Arise says it has resolved to issue a new green bond worth SEK350m to refinance its outstanding bond 2012/2015. The interest rate is floating corresponding to STIBOR 3M plus 6% and Arise will apply for a listing of the bond on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. The new issue is labelled as “green” and Arise said assurance firm DNV GL has provided a Second Party Opinion based on the Green Bond Principles.

Investment bank JPMorgan Chase has teamed up with the Milwaukee-based Water Council “to bring together North America’s investment community and water technology entrepreneurs to match capital with water innovation”. The partnership includes a $225,000 grant from JPMorgan, with which the Water Council will identify investment firms that are interested in exploring water technology investments, prepare water investment training information and conduct an investor conference with entrepreneurs.


A $5.3m Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) project to test the development of social impact bonds (SIBs) in Latin America is looking at potential in Chile, Brazil and Mexico. UK social investment firm Social Finance is supporting the Bank with its project which will test areas of application, look at capacity building and is aim to launch three pilot SIBs.

The South African government reportedly plans to raise at least $500m in its first ever Islamic bonds (sukuk) issue, according to a Reuters report citing a senior treasury official. Director of debt issuance and management Tshepiso Moahloli was quoted as saying the country aims to issue a “benchmark-size” sukuk. The report added the government was seeking to diversify its fund-raising and that it has hired BNP Paribas, Standard Bank, and KFH Investment for an investor roadshow staring later in September.h6. Governance

News and data giant Thomson Reuters has launched a suite of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) indices to track European companies. The new offerings – the Thomson Reuters CRI Europe Indices – are part of the firm’s Reuters Corporate Responsibility Indices family. The indices place a “greater emphasis on quantitative outcomes rather than qualitative corporate statements” it said. “As responsible ESG investing continues to gain traction around the world, Thomson Reuters remains committed to delivering the most comprehensive and transparent family of indices available today,” said Stephan Flagel, head of Indices at Thomson Reuters. Live calculation of the indices began on July 28 – with historical data available from December 31, 2007. Announcement

US consumer products giant Procter & Gamble is resisting a shareholder proposal, filed on behalf of the Roddenberry Foundation of ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry by advocacy group As You Sow, calling for a report to shareholders assessing the environmental impacts of using unrecyclable packaging. The company, which holds its shareholder meeting on October 14 in Cincinnati, said it would be “duplicative of efforts already underway” and would not create additional value for shareholders. P&G is also advising shareholders to vote against a proposal on aligning corporate values and political contributions filed by Boston-based SRI firm NorthStar Asset Management. Proxy

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which runs the assets of South Africa’s Government Employees’ Pension Fund, has said it plans to use its influence – it owns 13% of the shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange – to limit executive pay, appoint chairmen and promote better governance, according to a Bloomberg report citing Chief Investment Officer Daniel Matjila. “We’ve taken a conscious decision that we’ll try and engage. We’d like to be aggressive behind the scenes,” he was quoted saying.

The closing date for nominations for the annual British Venture Capital Association’s (BVCA) Responsible Investment Awards is September 5. Previous winners include Carlyle, Doughty Hanson, HgCapital, Palatine Private Equity and Permira; the winners will be announced at this year’s BVCA Summit on October 9. Link

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest US pension fund, has welcomed the approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of two rules, relating to asset-backed securities and credit rating agencies. “These rules are a step in the right direction to protect America’s investors,” said Interim Chief Investment Officer said Ted Eliopoulos.

Hermes, the fund firm owned by the BT Pension Scheme, has revealed a new corporate identity and logo. The new brand, “Hermes Investment Management”, and logo portray “a modern and energetic feel”. Hermes said it has trebled third party assets under management from £2bn to more than £6bn over the last three years.