US investors have filed a record 95 shareowner resolutions with 82 companies relating to climate change, according to the Investor Network on Climate Risk. INCR represents some 80 institutional investors, with a combined $8trn in assets. The Securities and Exchange Commission recently issued guidance on the material information that companies should disclose on climate impact.
CRD Analytics and Trucost have signed a partnership agreement, under which the latter’s environmental data will be used for CRD’s SmartView sustainability analytics product which is used to generate the NASDAQ OMX CRD Global Sustainability 50 Index.
The Asian Development Bank is to issue its first ever Water Bond to finance its work in the water sector in Asia and the Pacific. The issue will be in two tranches, denominated in Australian dollars and South African rand, and be issued in April. The issuance will be arranged by Daiwa Securities Capital Markets Co. and distributed to Japanese retail and institutional investors.
Goldman Sachs JBWere and Citi have won the first broking awards for excellence in Environmental, Social and Governance research in Australia. The awards were handed out by industry body ESG Research Australia. Goldman won Best Piece of ESG Research by an Individual Analyst or Team while Citi Investment Research & Analysis scooped Best ESG Broking Firm as Voted by Investment Managers.
Investment in the World Bank’s green bonds programme has broken the $1bn barrier, following the latest Swedish Kronor-denominated issue in December.
Credit Suisse has been appointed to run North Carolina’s new $230m (€167m) Innovation Fund investing in clean energy, life sciences and technology. The aim is to achieve a risk-adjusted rate of return for the state pension fund’s private equity portfolio.The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has set up a project to promoting responsible investment in the mining sector through enhanced due diligence. It builds on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Link to project
The UK’s Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), which represents schemes with combined assets of over £80bn (€88bn), has called for its members to take a “proactive and precautionary approach” to climate change: “As long term investors, LAPFF members are aware that the risks and opportunities associated with climate change may have a material impact on the financial performance of their portfolios.”
Europe’s Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change has launched a 10-page guide on climate change for private equity aimed at pension fund investors. Peter Dunscombe, the head of investments at the BBC pension fund, who chairs the IIGCC, said the private equity sector has not been obliged to disclose climate impact in the same way as public firms.
Link to guide
Almost 80% of Australian superannuation funds say they would back shareholder resolutions on climate change, according to a survey by the Climate Institute and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. However, most funds said they were “ill-equipped” for countering the potential impact of climate change on their portfolios.
Australia’s A$66bn (€44bn) government-run Future Fund could be set to make an allocation to timberland, according to reports. The fund’s general manager Paul Costello was quoted saying it’s recently begun looking at forestry “as an opportunity”.
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has said it won’t support shareholder proposals for say on pay advisory votes at companies. The Canadian pension fund giant argues that “say on pay” is new to many companies: “We do not wish to unfairly burden companies that are making efforts to involve shareholders in compensation matters by voting against management advisory compensation proposals.”
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has launched new guidance papers for the mining and metals sector. It includes sector-specific issues such as indigenous rights, resettlement, closure planning and materials stewardship.
Link to papers
BM&FBOVESPA, the Brazilian stock and commodities exchange, has signed up to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. The signing took place at the PRI board meeting in Brazil, at an event sponsored by PREVI, the Banco do Brasil’s pension fund.
Rio Tinto has been included in the FTSE4Good Global 100 Index, as part of a review. The firm joins because it is now above the automatic inclusion threshold. Also joining the index is carmaker Ford. Overall, 23 companies were added to the index family. Among companies excluded for not meeting FTSE4Good criteria are H&R Block, CNA Financial, Ezaki Glico, Sodexo, and Tokai Rika.
Bridges Ventures, the firm run by former Apax Partners chairman, Sir Ronald Cohen, has published “Investing for Impact: Case Studies Across Asset Classes”. The 41-page report on the ‘impact investing’ theme has the backing of the Rockefeller Foundation and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management. It was researched by advisory form Parthenon ventures.
Link to report
Deloitte has bought carbon and sustainability consultancy dcarbon8, with founder Guy Battle joining the larger firm as a partner. The move follows Deloitte’s acquisitions of property advisor Drivers Jonas and business performance consultant ReportSource.The Global Climate Partnership Fund, which promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in emerging economies, is seeking expressions of interest from up to four investment management companies. The fund will invest primarily in financial institutions that will lend to small and medium-sized enterprises and households.
Link to fund
A damages claim by former Fortis investors against the company’s management is set to go to court later this year, according to Dutch news reports. Investors are preparing to sue Fortis over the partial take-over of ABN Amro at the height of the financial crisis. Dutch regulator AFM has fined the group €576,000 for market manipulation and failing to publish price-sensitive information during the takeover.
European MEPs have called for more investment – both private and public – in clean and low-carbon energy technologies. While welcoming the European Commission’s plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, the Parliament said the work would require an annual EU budget contribution of at least €2bn. The Parliament said it was “absolutely necessary” to use €300m in Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) reserves to support carbon capture and storage. MEPs added that the European Investment Bank should give priority to projects such as smart grids and mini hydro power plants.
Sovereign wealth fund, the Korea Investment Corp. is considering investing up to $100m (€72.8m) in a clean energy fund being put together by Abu Dhabi’s Masdar renewable energy investment firm, according to reports. Masdar, or Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., is currently raising $500m from investors for alternative energy assets. In January, Masdar and Deutsche Bank announced the launch and first closing of the DB Masdar Clean Tech Fund at $265m.
The $205bn (€149bn) California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is demanding that the top 58 companies whose stock it holds, voluntarily implement a majority-based vote of confidence on their directors or face shareholder resolutions to try and force changes through.
Nikko Asset Mamanagement has launching the first green fund that invests up to 100% of its portfolio in green bonds issued by the World Bank, which will tackle the causes and consequences of climate change in the developing world.
Engyco, a solar energy power utility, plans to sell as much as €1 billion worth of shares on the London Stock Exchange, targeting institutional investors and using the proceeds to buy solar power assets across Europe. The solar energy startup, which is registered in the Channel Islands but headquartered in Germany, said it would initially target investment in existing Spanish solar energy plants.
Standard & Poor’s has launched the S&P/EGX ESG Index, the first tracking the performance of companies listed on the Egyptian Stock Exchange that demonstrate leadership on environmental, social and corporate governance issues. The index was developed in collaboration with the Egyptian Institute of Directors, the Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) and CRISIL.
Listed companies should invite major institutional shareholders to join their board nomination committees, according to a report by a Tommorrow’s Company, titled: Tomorrow’s Corporate Governance: Bridging the UK engagement gap through Swedish-style nomination committees.
The UK’s nearly £4bn (€4.4bn) Pension Protection Fund, a lifeboat for the defined benefit pension schemes of failed companies, is to extend its responsible investing commitment from just UK equities to include global equities. The PPF, a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment since 2007, said in its new Statement of Investment Principles that it expects managers to have integrated ESG factors, saying: “Appropriate weight will be given to ESG factors in the appointment of fund managers.”Sinclair & Company, the South African sustainability research outfit and RisCura, are to lead the first study on sustainability practices amongst investment managers in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on private equity. The research is commissioned by IFC and is part of a larger IFC program which aims at increasing sustainable institutional investments into the private sector in emerging markets.
Link to Sinclair & Company
The Carlyle Group and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have launched EcoValuScreen, a business review process that looks at operational improvement and value creation through enhanced environmental management at potential investments. It was developed in partnership with The Payne Firm (Payne), an international environmental consultancy,
Social Finance, whose board includes David Blood, CEO of Generation Investment Management, has joined with the UK’s Ministry of Justice to launch a £5m (€5.6m) Social Impact Bond, which attempts to reduce re-offending by prison leavers from Peterborough Prison. The bond will offer a variable return depending on prisoner recidivism rates.
Hermes Equity Ownership Services, the ownership advisory arm of the BT Pension Scheme-owned Hermes asset management group, has announced that Danish pension administrator Unipension and the pension fund of BAE Systems have signed up as clients. The DKK70bn (€9.4bn) Unipension has appointed EOS to advise on around €6bn of equities and corporate bonds. Last month, Hermes EOS appointed Glass Lewis & Co. to provide proxy research and vote execution, replacing RiskMetrics group.
James Gifford, executive director of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment has been selected by the World Economic Forum as one of 72 ‘Young Global Leaders’ for 2010.