RI ESG Briefing: ISS fires employee for supplying confidential client data

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


Adidas, Nestlé and Air France-KLM are among the companies with top marks from Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) for reporting on child labour, climate or water risks. They were among 39 companies in a survey of 1,078 companies that received top marks for reporting on social or environmental risks in 2011. More than a third of the companies in the annual evaluation by the manager of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund, scored zero.

The Danish government has said it is aiming to supply 35% of its total energy from renewables by 2020 and 100% by 2050, according to reports. Climate Minister Martin Lidegaard was quoted as saying: “Denmark will once again be the global leader in the transition to green energy.”

The German government is considering having talks with development bank KfW to help with the costs of offshore wind farms, according to reports. A working group of government ministries, electricity grid and wind farm operators and engineering firms had suggested KfW takes on investments – which could later be sold to private investors, Reuters reported.


Campaign group Pax Christi Netherlands is planning to file a shareholder resolution at the annual general meeting of Swedish energy group Lundin Petroleum about human rights violations in Sudan. It would be interested to hear from any institutional or individual shareholder in Lundin who might be interested in supporting such a resolution. Contact Egbert Wesselink

An “exciting new era for sustainable and responsible investment” could be emerging from the turmoil of wider industry restructuring. That’s the view of UKSIF Chief Executive Penny Shepherd in an article in the Financial Times. She says well-placed practitioners report a “quiet revolution” in the number of asset managers engaging with responsible investment.

Research firm Sustainalytics has added IAMGold Corp. to the Jantzi Social Index, saying the Toronto-listed mining company “is a strong sustainability reporter”. Gennum Corp. has been removed.

The Dutch government has banned financial institutions, including pension funds, from investing in cluster munitions, according to a story on IPE.com. The ban starts on January 1 next year, according to a letter from Minister of Finance Jan Kees de Jager to the Senate.h6. Governance

Institutional Shareholder Services, the largest US proxy voting firm, has fired an employee for providing confidential information about how clients voted their proxies to a third party. “We believe that the employee communicated the vote information by using his personal email accounts and by telephone and that he acted alone in gathering this information and communicating it,” ISS said, adding it terminated the unnamed employee’s employment on March 26. ISS, part of index group MSCI, says it is continuing to cooperate with the SEC and Department of Justice.

Lead plaintiff the Massachusetts Bricklayers and Masons Trust Funds has had success in its mortgage loan-related lawsuit against Deutsche Bank. The German bank has agreed to pay $32.5m to investors who had claimed they were misled about the quality of mortgage loans they bought, according to reports.

Hermes Equity Ownership Services has welcomed the decision by ratings agency Moody’s Corporation to appoint an independent chairman. “This is an important step given the significant influence that Moody’s credit ratings have,” Hermes said. Hermes and the Central Pension Fund of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) had co-sponsored a resolution on the issue that was supported by 56% of votes at Moody’s 2011 annual meeting.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s is seeking feedback on how it rates companies in terms of management and governance. The deadline for comments on the detailed 20-page ‘Request For Comment: Management And Governance Credit Factors’ is April 12. Email

The $140bn New York State Common Retirement Fund has got the go-ahead from the Securities and Exchange Commission for its shareholder resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity at oil major ExxonMobil’s annual meeting next month. The SEC ruled the motion must appear on the agenda of meeting, scheduled for May 30. “I urge shareholders to support my proposal to ask ExxonMobil to end these practices and bring this company into the modern age,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.