RI ESG Briefing: UK pension fund tenders proxy voting

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


The OECD’s stark new Environmental Outlook to 2050: the Consequences of Inaction has the latest projections of socio-economic trends over the next four decades and their implications for climate change, biodiversity, water and the health impacts of pollution. Rising living standards will see growing demands for energy, food and natural resources and more pollution. And the costs of inaction could be colossal in economic and human terms; without new policies world energy demand in 2050 will be 80% higher and still 85% reliant on fossil fuel-based energy.

A shareholder resolution on sustainable coffee at US food group J.M. Smucker is in the works. Trillium Asset Management is calling for an “enhanced green coffee sustainability plan that goes beyond its 2011 plan”.

Japanese trading house Marubeni and the government-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) have inked a deal to buy European offshore wind services company Seajacks International from funds controlled by energy focused private equity firm Riverstone Holdings. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Link


SHARE, the Vancouver-based Shareholder Association for Research and Education, has released a briefing on the implications of conflict minerals for investors. It reviews the key issues related and includes engagement recommendations for investors seeking to manage these risks in their portfolios. Link

The Securities and Exchange Commission has told clothing giant The Gap that it may not omit a shareholder proposal on human rights in Sri Lanka from its forthcoming annual meeting. The SEC said the motion, filed by the Jaeger-Natkunam Family Trust, “focuses on the significant policy issue of human rights and does not seek to micromanage the company”.

The Nordic Investment Bank, the €23.8bn institution owned by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, says its new Sustainability Policy have come into force. It includes a new detailed exclusion list of projects it will not finance.h6. Governance

The £500m (€600m) London Borough of Hounslow Pension Fund is seeking a proxy voting provider. “One of the requirements of the fund is to engage with [investee] companies via its voting rights to ensure that the companies in which we invest seek to follow good corporate governance practices,” the tender says. Some 200 meetings are voted on per year. The three-year contract is worth around £200,000 and the deadline is May 10.

Investec Asset Management has signed up with MSCI’s ESG Research and Ratings to integrate ESG factors into its investment process. MSCI will provide ESG research on the constituents of the its World, Emerging Markets and Emerging Frontier Markets Africa Indices, as well as its South Africa Investable Market Index.

California pension giants CalPERS and CalSTRS are engaging with officials about the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. In a letter to California Senator Dianne Feinstein, CalSTRS’ CEO Jack Ehnes said the proposed legislation would “roll back important investor protections” and weaken market transparency. CalPERS’ Chief Operating Investment Officer Janine Guillot has sent a similar letter to Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. Link

Investors including the Florida State Board of Administration and Railpen Investments have written an open letter to Olympus, calling on the scandal-hit Japanese camera firm to rethink its choice of new president and chairman. They say the candidates represent banks’ interests rather than all stakeholders.

Trillium Asset Management has withdrawn three shareholder resolutions, related to corporate political spending – at insurer Chubb Corp., banking firm State Street and oilfield services giant Halliburton. It comes after the firms committed to improve transparency and accountability, Trillium said. Similar motions last year gained 46% and 44% support at Halliburton and State Street respectively.