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

This week, the European Commission organised a public hearing on the CMU  Mid-term review. The event was a high-level gathering of several critical stakeholders that have played, and continue to play, a vital role in shaping this policy framework. An opening by Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis kicked off a series of discussions which focused on these key themes: the impact of the CMU on the SMEs and how to help them getting better access to finance, how to promote better investment opportunities for retail and institutional investors and ways in which to improve the functioning of the single market by removing barriers to cross-border flows of capital. 

An encouraging statement by Vice-President Dombrovskis on the importance of "mobilising private capital to fund sustainable investment" set the tone for the rest of the discussions which culminated in the presentation of the High Level Group on Sustainable Finance by its Chair, Christian Thimann who gave an introduction and a status update on the work currently undertaken by the group. 

There was one idea that was once again confirmed by this hearing. There is not going to be any financial and economic system that will not be able to integrate the sustainable and social sphere to develop the markets of tomorrow.

You can access the webstreaming 
here. Happy listening and Happy Easter!
Happy reading,
Flavia Micilotta
- Eurosif's Executive Director

World Bank passes $10bn milestone for green bond issuance (Environmental Finance) The World Bank has released details of two bonds that it sold to Swedish insurance company Folksam last week, taking its total issuance to date beyond $10 billion. The bonds bought by Folksam were a $300 million fixed rate bond paying 2.00% annually, and a $50 million floating rate bond paying one-basis point over three-month dollar Libor.
Global Watchdog Asks Banks to Speak Up Over Global Rules (Reuters) Banks should speak up about the benefits of international financial standards if they want to maintain a level playing field, a global regulatory official said on Thursday.
FSB climate task force’s scenario analysis recommendations seen as “challenging” for investors (Responsible Investor) Translating the high-level climate disclosure task force’s recommendations about scenario analysis will be “challenging and resource intensive” for institutional investors unfamiliar with the technique, according to new guidance from Asian and Australian investor groups.

FRC tells investors what to look out for in 2017 (Economia ICAEW) Financial Reporting Council (FRC) chief executive Stephen Haddrill has written to institutional investors ahead of the 2017 shareholder meeting season, advising them on what recent developments to look out for in listed companies’ annual reports and accounts
E.U. Market Supervisor Demands Tougher Powers After Brexit (The Financial Times) The E.U.’s top markets supervisor has warned that he needs tougher powers to police the risks created by asset managers and other investment firms relocating to the continent after Brexit. Steven Maijoor, the chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority, said the E.U. should give him a stronger mandate to forge common supervisory standards across the bloc in a bid to avoid companies heading to the countries with the laxest standards.
Shell admits dealing with convicted money launderer in Nigeria (Economia ICAEW) According to Global Witness and Finance Uncovered, Shell and ENI, an Italian oil and gas company, bought OPL 245, an oil block in Nigeria, for $1.1bn (£0.88bn). It did so knowing that the money would go to former oil minister Dan Etete, who is a convicted money launderer.
More than a third of insurers looking to increase ESG allocation (Environmental Finance) More than a third, 38%, of insurers plan to increase their allocation to environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies over the year, according to a survey by AXA Investment Managers (IM).
Commission publishes latest round report and EU proposals for trade agreement with Mercosur (European Commission midday express) The Commission today published as part of its commitment to a more transparent trade and investment policy – a report summarising the progress made during the latest round of negotiations for a trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), which took place in Buenos Aires during the week of 20 March.
Bank On Nature: Commission and EIB sign first loan agreement backed by Natural Capital Financing Facility to support biodiversity (European Commission midday express) The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are announcing today the first loan agreement backed by the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF), a financing partnership between the Commission and the EIB supporting nature and climate adaptation projects through tailored loans and investments, backed by an EU guarantee. 
ESMA calls for unified data approach for CMU project (The Trade News) A shared data strategy is critical to the success of the European Commission’s (EC) Capital Markets Union (CMU) project, according to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). In response to the EC’s consultation on CMU launched earlier this year, ESMA has described transparency and data availability as “essential elements” of CMU as they help reduce fragmentation of capital markets and facilitate cross-border supervision.
What is a city? The SDGs depend on an answer (GreenBiz) This month, urban thinkers from the United Nations, the European Commission and other organizations are meeting in Brussels to continue a curiously complex attempt: developing a universal definition of the "city." The meeting is a pivotal step toward ironing out a globally applicable city definition that can be used to measure progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those that pertain to cities, along with the New Urban Agenda, a global agreement that will guide urbanization over the next 20 years.
Malta wants EU to slow down drive against tax avoidance (Reuters) Malta's presidency of the European Union said on Friday the bloc should slow down its drive against corporate tax avoidance because it might hurt Europe's economy by increasing legal uncertainty.
S-Ray: The power of sustainability information (Eco-Business) Georg Kell, vice chair of asset management firm Arabesque and former United Nations Global Compact head, introduces a new data analysis tool that allows anyone to monitor the sustainability of thousands of the world’s largest companies.

Norwegian sovereign fund's returns outweigh oil revenue for first time (Investment & Pensions Europe) Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), has now made more money from investment returns than from oil revenue.
Giant Norwegian SWF hits out at executive pay (Modern Investor) Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund has called for greater executive pay transparency and further use of ‘locked in’ shares for remuneration purposes.
Insurers' strategic responses to climate change (Environmental Finance) Peter Cripps reports on group level responses to climate change within the investment sector.

Investors develop guidance on meeting TCFD recommendations (Environmental Finance) Advice on how institutional investors should disclose the impact of climate change on their portfolios has been issued by a group of asset owners and managers from Asia and Australia. The Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) and the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) issued their guidance in a report entitled Transparency in Transition: A Guide to Investor Disclosure on Climate Change.
2017: The next ‘shareholder spring’? (Investment & Pensions Europe) The public debate over executive pay at BP could be just the start of another ‘shareholder spring’, according to engagement experts. Listed companies are seeking investors’ feedback more than ever in a bid to avoid unfavourable headlines regarding executive pay, several investors told IPE.
Swiss Execs Want EU Rethink (The Market Mogul) A new survey finds almost two-thirds of Switzerland’s industry leaders want an overhaul of its ties with the EU.
SE Asian Corporates Warming up to Divestments, Says EY (CFO Innovation) Southeast Asian (SEA) corporates are warming up to divestments as close to a quarter (24%) of those surveyed plan to divest within the next two years, up from 15% in 2014, according to the EY Global Corporate Divestment Study 2017.
Solactive & Equileap launch gender equality indices (Investment Europe) Solactive and Equileap launched a family of indices tracking leading companies in the field of gender equality. The family consists of three indices, the Solactive Equileap Europe gender equality index, the Solactive Equileap US gender equality index and the Solactive Equileap global gender equality index (ticker EQUAL), all offering investors different geographic exposures to the same gender lens methodology. The indices will be used as the underlying baskets for investment products such as ETFs and structured products.

European Parliament takes steps to bolster vulnerable MMFs (Asset Servicing Times) The European Parliament has finalised and approved new rules to make money market funds (MMFs) more resilient to turbulence in the market. The parliament outlined measures intended to improve MMFs’ resistance to stress, and to address vulnerability to ‘panic runs’ on their money.
MiFID II to Prompt Global Unbundling (Market Media) MiFID II, the regulations covering financial markets in the E.U., come into effect at the beginning of next year. One of the requirements of MiFID II is to separate payments for research from trading commissions to increase transparency and reduce conflicts of interest. Asset managers will have to either pay for research out of their own P&L or from research payment accounts, where they have agreed a budget with their clients. The requirements cover fixed income, currency, and commodity markets for the first and the buy side will also have to track their consumption of research and evaluate its quality.

Quote of the week
"Sustainability means making the finance flow consistent with climate resilient development."

Jyrki Katainen,Vice President of the European Commission, speaking at the public hearing on the Commission's Capital Markets Union Mid-term Review, on Tuesday.
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