RI ESG Briefing: Brokers top ESG research table as manager interest grows: survey

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


Thirteen companies have been added to the NASDAQ OMX Clean Edge Global Wind Energy Index. They are: Dongkuk Structures & Construction, Guodian Technology, Beijing Jingneng Clean Energy, Arise Windpower, Eolus Vind, Falck Renewables, Greentech Energy Systems, GDF Suez, Iberdrola, China Ming Yang Wind Power, PNE Wind, Terna Energy and Western Wind Energy.

Investment banks are the top providers of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research, according to Integrity Research Associates, which covers the investment research industry. It said a recent survey of institutional investors found that ESG research is growing in importance among asset managers, with the majority of respondents expecting to increase spending despite overall reductions in research spending. The top three providers of ESG research in the study were Citigroup, CLSA and UBS, Integrity said.

The Australian Senate yesterday (March 19) approved the government’s new 30% tax on profits from mining iron ore and coal. “Only super-profitable mining companies will pay the Minerals Resource Rent Tax and the proceeds will go to where they can make the greatest contribution to jobs and economic growth,” the government said. Proceeds will help raise the nation’s savings pool by $500bn (€398bn) by 2035.

Capital Dynamics, the Swiss-based asset manager, has acquired three portfolios of solar energy projects in California and New Jersey, representing investment projects in various stages of development of over $300m. The projects are all under long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with California utilities.


SWIFT, the global financial transaction system, has announced that it has been instructed to discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions. The decision was made by the European Council and confirmed by the Belgian Treasury where SWIFT is incorporated.

Erste-Sparinvest, the Austrian funds firm with €23.6bn in assets under management, has completed a programme to exclude all banned weapons from its actively managed funds, with the help of research firmOekom’s Controversial Weapons Monitor. “We see this not only as a responsible investment policy, but also as part of our company’s risk management system,” said Erste-Sparinvest’s Chief Sustainability Investment Officer Wolfgang Pinner.

Centrally managed enterprises in China will be obliged to issue social responsibility reports from next year, according a China Daily report. “We will request that all central enterprises issue a 2012 report on social responsibility to assess how they have assumed their social responsibilities,” Peng Huagang, director of Research Bureau of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) was quoted as saying.


US coffee shop chain Starbucks is facing a shareholder resolution calling for a board committee on sustainability at its annual general meeting in Seattle tomorrow (March 21). Harrington Investments says the committee could look at “global climate change, political instability, emerging concerns regarding toxicity of materials, resource shortages, and biodiversity loss”. The company is advising shareholders to vote against the motion, saying its existing framework and commitment to environmental and social responsibility makes it unnecessary. Link to meeting agenda (proxy)

Walden Asset Management has written to fellow shareholders in medical technology firm C.R. Bard calling on them to support its resolution for the company’s annual meeting on April 18 in New Jersey. “We believe the company lacks meaningful disclosure of ESG factors and has not taken investors’ feedback on the issue seriously,” Walden says. “Walden and the eighteen other co-filers will continue to seek meaningful dialogue and increased transparency from C.R. Bard. Similar proposals received 32.43% and 27.57% backing at the 2010 and 2011 meetings.

A group of investors including Aviva Investors, BlackRock, Governance for Owners, RPMI Railpen, Ram Trust and the Universities Superannuation Scheme have issued a set of recommendations to improve stewardship in the UK. The 2020 Stewardship report calls for a ‘Stewardship Framework’ for equity investors to identify the level of stewardship they intend to undertake.