RI ESG Briefing: Danish pension fund’s Deepwater Horizon-related case dismissed

The daily round-up of environmental, social and governance news


A class action lawsuit brought by Danica Pension, the pension provider that’s part of Danske Bank, against oil drilling firm Transocean has been dismissed. US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald threw out a suit alleging the company misled investors about safety concerns ahead of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the Associated Press reports.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has issued a list of ‘new energy pioneers’ at its fifth annual conference in New York. The winners companies in the bioenergy, energy storage, electric vehicles, smart grid, solar and water sectors. They are: Clean Power Finance, Ecotality, Emefcy, Lanzatech, Maxwell Technologies, Silver Spring Networks, Smarter Grid Solutions, Tendril Networks, Va-Q-Tec and Xtreme Power.

Real estate standards estate body the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has launched an information paper for the measurement of embodied carbon. “We see this note as the start of what will probably be a long journey to an industry ‘standard method’ for carbon measurement and accounting,” said Martin Russell-Croucher, RICS’ Director of Sustainability. Web site


Deutsche Bank’s up-for-sale asset management division managed around €2.5bn in assets invested in accordance with environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in 2011, the bank says in its new corporate social responsibility report. It won mandates from the European Energy Efficiency Fund, the Global Climate Energy Fund, as well as the Africa Agriculture and Trade Investment Fund. Its Private and Business Clients arm has also set up its own Sustainability Board, to drive the development of sustainability investment products.A report by The UK Ownership Commission on Plurality, Stewardship and Engagement, says asset managers are conflicted in being pushed to do the job of investor stewardship. The Commission has proposed the creation of “aggregation platforms” ideally in the form of not-for-profit mutual companies to pool the voting rights of shareholders and engage on their behalf with companies. Link


More than three-quarters (79%) of FTSE 350 companies say they have seen no increase in meaningful investor engagement following the introduction of the UK’s Stewardship Code in 2010. Just under a quarter (21%) answering the first FT/ICSA Business Bellwether survey reported only a slight increase. Just one in 10 companies had met all their top 10 shareholders in the past 12 months, a third had met fewer than three and 13% had met none.

French regulator, the AMF, has published an English language version of its Consultation on Annual General Meetings at French listed companies. The consultation closes on March 31. Link

Shareholder proposals from Trillium Asset Management and the Nathan Cummings Foundation on the reputational risks of high executive pay can be omitted from the annual shareholder meeting agendas of investment banks Goldman Sachs and J.P.Morgan, the Securities and Exchange Commission has said. The SEC issued the ‘no action’ letters ahead of the banks’ AGMs later this year.

Dexia Asset Management had concerns at 33% of the remuneration votes it participated in last year, according to its new Engagement Report. It also abstained or rejected 19% of resolutions on director election, due to “over-boarded directors, bundled elections and the length of director’s mandates”. “Against” votes were cast because of serious concern over independence and overall board structure.