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SRI HEADLINES
The news that shaped the week in responsible investing
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Dear SRI reader,

It is often said that wonder is the beginning of wisdom. So what are SRI investors wondering about?

Are you wondering if Green Bonds are getting any greener? If that's the case, you are going to have to keep waiting but what the casual reader may have noticed today is that Green Bonds are getting big and bigger. This week, Amundi and the World Bank came together for, what is the 'world's largest' green bond fund to date! 
The $2 billion Green Cornerstone bond fund launched by Amundi and IFC aims to deepen local capital markets and expand financing for climate investments.  The fund aims to be fully invested in green bonds within seven years. The two institutions are going to encourage more local financial institutions to issue green bonds and join the expanding market for them.

Wondered how serious corporates are in their commitment to sustainability and championing SDGs? According to PRI and UNGC, the proof is in the pudding. 
The two UN agencies have looked at the extent to which corporate pension plans are lagging corporates and other institutional investors in recognising the benefits of incorporating ESG considerations into their investment decision-making. Corporate pension plans - deemed 'a sleeping giant" by Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director at UNGC - must contribute to the attainment of the SDGs and need to be aligned with their sponsors' sustainability philosophy. In truth, corporate pension funds are a key indicator of how sustainable corporates really are, and they can be a valid lever for change both inside and outside the organisation. Eurosif recognizes that and joins this call for accountability in the corporate world.

And finally, still wondering whether ESG increases returns? Well, wonder no more! 
State Street Global Advisors, on Wednesday announced the results of a global survey of 475 institutions, which found that 68% of respondents believe that integration of an ESG strategy has significantly improved returns, showing that the adoption of ESG driven investment strategies has a future in institutional portfolios. 
You can read more about other key findings 
here.
Happy reading,
Flavia Micilotta
- Eurosif's Executive Director
 



 
ESG
UN forum highlights importance of stronger partnerships for financing sustainable development (Eco-Business) Underlining the importance of sustainable finance for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, senior United Nations officials today called for stronger partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders to ensure that resource requirements are met.

When Money Gets in the Way of Corporate Ethics (The New York Times) Executives love to extol the virtues of their corporate culture, announcing to the world how the enterprise is more than just seeking the last dollar of profits. But several incidents in recent weeks make it clear that all too often, companies have a hard time acting ethically when that gets in the way of making more money.
 
IFoA launches tender on climate change modelling for pension funds (Environmental Finance) The UK’s Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) has launched a call for proposals to model climate change’s effect on defined benefit pension schemes. This comes after the IFoA launched the Environment Implications for Pensions Actuaries ‘working party’ that looks at how climate change affects pensions actuaries that advise UK pension funds.


Tax Policies in the European Union 2016 Survey (European Commission) The "Tax Policies in the EU survey" examines how Member States' tax systems help to promote investment and employment, how they are working to reduce tax fraud, evasion and avoidance, and how tax systems help to address income inequalities and ensure social fairness.
 
UN forum highlights importance of stronger partnerships for financing sustainable development (Eco-Business) Sustainable business models are increasingly recognised in the world as “the most sound, long term business logic”, UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson said at a high-level forum on financing the Sustainable Development Goals.
 
Hermes research reveals ESG and credit spreads correlation (Fund Strategy) Analysis by Hermes Investment Management has revealed a “significant” correlation between ESG scores and CDS spreads, which it describes an important step in pricing environmental, social and governance risks in corporate debt.

 
ASSET MANAGERS
BlackRock again opposes shareholder resolution targeting its own voting practices on executive pay (Responsible Investor) BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is for the second year opposing a shareholder resolution calling for it to look at how it votes on executive pay at company annual meetings.
 
This large money manager created a new way to invest in green bonds (GreenBiz) Last month VanEck launched the first U.S.-listed fixed-income exchange-traded fund (ETF) for green bonds, the VanEck Vectors Green Bond ETF, which offers investors a new way to invest in projects that help mitigate the impacts of climate change. The ETF allows investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of U.S. and foreign green bonds, and it will track the performance and yield characteristics of the S&P Green Bond Select Index.

Amundi & World Bank unite for 'world's largest' green bond fund (Citywire) Amundi and a member of the World Bank Group are working together to create the world's largest green bond fund concentrated on emerging markets, the group's have announced. The $2 billion Green Cornerstone bond fund launched by Amundi and IFC aims to deepen local capital markets and expand financing for climate investments.

 
Corporate pension plans urged to 'mirror' sponsors on sustainability (Investment & Pensions Europe) A failure by corporate pension plans to adopt responsible investment policies and practices could undermine sponsors’ sustainability goals, according to the organisations behind the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the UN Global Compact.

INVESTORS
Asset Owners Say Integration of ESG has Significantly Improved Returns, State Street Global Advisors Study Shows (Business Wire) State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) announced the results of a global survey of 475 institutions, which found that 68% of respondents say the integration of an environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy has significantly improved returns, showing that the adoption of ESG driven investment strategies has a future in institutional portfolios.
 
Germany’s aba criticises EIOPA pan-European DC survey (Investment & Pensions Europe) Germany’s occupational pensions association has strongly criticised a survey carried out by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) on a proposed pan-European occupational defined contribution (DC) framework.
 
Fall in clean energy investment due, in part, to better technology - BNEF (Environmental Finance) Clean energy investments continued to fall in the first quarter of 2017, partly driven by their falling capital costs as the technology gets better according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).


First green bond from an insurer is launched (Environmental Finance) The first green bond from an insurance company has hit the market. It proceeds will be used to finance and refinance a green bond portfolio. QBE Insurance, Australia’s largest global insurer, has mandated HSBC, Credit Agricole, Morgan Stanley and Lloyds Bank as bookrunners for the deal.
 
Questions over SME finance scheme (Economia ICAEW) An expert review has been launched into a disappointing government bank referral scheme. Professor Russel Griggs has been called on to investigate why the new scheme seems to be failing to take off.
 
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