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RI round-up: Oct 22

RI’s weekly round-up of the week’s most important responsible investment news.

The £3.7bn South Yorkshire Pensions Authority is tendering for the hire of a corporate governance consultant and voting execution provider on behalf of the two Funds it runs. The fund said its existing contractor for the services had been invited to re-tender. Tenders must be received by October 30.
The €40bn Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK), Germany’s largest pension fund, is to invest around €400m in timber assets. Daniel Just, chief executive of the fund told ipe.com that the investment would be made via fund-of-funds allocations.
ERAFP, the €5.5bn French Public Service Additional Pensions Scheme, which runs all its assets on a 100% SRI basis, is reportedly seeking new sectors for sustainable investment. Philippe Desfosses, ERAFP’s chief executive officer at RAFP, told European Pensions & Investments News that the fund was considering sustainable forestry and real estate allocations. Desfosses reportedly said: “What is happening with real estate indicates that it will be a good long-term investment and an important asset class. With forestry, there is a possibility of great returns over the long term. But we have to be patient because these things can take time.”
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have launched a reporting system to encourage greater disclosure by banks, insurers and asset managers of key indicators of corporate social responsibility. The indicators were developed by a working group including 28 financial institutions, asset managers and insurers as well as rating agencies, trades unions and non-governmental organisations. The supplement is available to download at: http://www.unepfi.org*The Global Finance Initiative*, a network of investors, corporates and NGOs has launched a short survey inquiring into the governance and organization of the global financial system and how it might be improved. The survey can be accessed at: http://www.gan-net.net/gfisurvey
Japan has launched a voluntary carbon emissions market in what could become a forerunner of a mandatory cap-and-trade scheme. The country has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6% between 2008-2012 from the 1990 levels under the UN’s Kyoto Protocol climate pact. But as of 2006, Japan’s emissions were 6% above 1990 levels. No pricing details for the voluntary market have yet been issued.
Australia has set a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050. The country plans to introduce one of the world’s most comprehensive carbon emissions trading schemes across its $1 trillion economy by mid-2010 and is expected to detail the plans by the end of the year.
The London Pension Fund Authority has reportedly told Thomson Reuters that it is ‘seriously’ considering investing up to £50m pounds in a fund manager offering corporate governance, social and environmental (ESG) management.
Impax Group, the London-based specialist environmental fund manager has hired Charlie Ridge as its chief operating officer. Ridge was a former managing director within the finance division of Deutsche Bank. Impax recently reported a £201m (€252.6m) increase in assets under management and advisory to £1.18bn in a pre-close statement for the year to September 18. Last month it won a £37m mandate from the £1.5bn UK Environment Agency Pension Fund.