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RI ESG Briefing: Allianz takes renewables investment to €1.3bn with wind farm deals

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

Environmental

German insurance giant Allianz has bought two recently completed wind farms in France from Nordex SE: the Croquettes and Longchamp projects have a combined capacity of 22MW. In addition, Allianz has bought a 16MW wind farm from WKN AG in Lower Saxony. Allianz now has more than €1.3bn invested in renewable energies and owns 34 wind farms with a total capacity of 658MW and seven solar parks (74MW). Announcement

Hermes Fund Managers’ private equity arm Hermes GPE has teamed up with cleantech investment firm Ombu Group to lead a £22.5m (€26.8m) financing round into water and wastewater treatment firm Bluewater Bio International. “Now that the company is successfully converting its strong pipeline into meaningful revenue from major customers such as Severn Trent and Degrémont, we felt the time was right to invest,” said Magnus Goodlad, Head of Renewables at Hermes GPE.

The United Nations Environment Programme and various partners have launched an initiative to promote the role of law in achieving environmental sustainability and the transition to a low carbon, resource-efficient green economy. The World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability has been launched in New York. Link

Social

A minority of companies are showing sufficient commitment to sustainable development, says Germany-based research firm Oekom in its Corporate Responsibility Review 2012. As at the end of last year, it said, a total of 543 (17%) of the more than 3,100 companies rated by Oekom had been awarded its ‘Prime’ status. “However, over 57% of the companies we have rated have so far taken little or no action at all in this area,” said Matthias Bönning, chief operating officer and Head of Research. Link

There have been three additions to the Calvert Social Index. They include Nasdaq-listed technology licensing firm Rambus, and New York-listed industrial groups Parker Hannifin and Cabot. Rambus has strengthened internal controls on options reporting and improved its governance performance while Parker Hannifin now meets the Index’s standards for weapons. Cabot now meets its environment standards. Level 3 Communications is also now eligible for inclusion following a divestment; a decision will be made in June.h6. Governance

The New York State Common Retirement Fund has tabled a shareholder request calling on oil and gas firm Anadarko Petroleum Corporation to report on its political contributions and expenditures. The company is advising shareholders to vote against the proposal at its May 15 annual meeting – saying it’s in its best interests to “participate in the political process by engaging in a government relations program to educate public officials” and to support candidates “who advocate pro-growth, free enterprise economic policies”. Proxy

The US Proxy Exchange, the non-profit shareholder rights group, has updated its model proxy access proposal with new language – and says its members are already submitting it to corporations. The proposal has already been submitted by shareholder Kenneth Steiner to medical technology firm Medtronics and pharma firm Forest Labs. Link

Campaign group Global Witness has welcomed the Financial Services Authority’s £8.75m (€10.4m) fine against Royal bank of Scotland Coutt’s subsidiary for failing to do enough to prevent corrupt funds going through its from accounts. “This fine is an indicator that the FSA is finally starting to hold our banks to account for the role that they can play in facilitating corruption,” said campaigner Robert Palmer.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has conceded that plans for a financial transaction tax in the euro zone are doomed, according to a report from Reuters. “We just can’t get it done,” Schaeuble was quoted saying. The idea was also rejected by the Netherlands last week. And Luxembourg’s prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the group of Eurozone finance ministers, has also voiced reservations about the tax. “My suggestion is to keep the same goal and to look for a different instrument,” was quoted saying.