December 2015

 

Eurosif December 2015 Newsletter

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In this issue:
New Eurosif Executive Director Eurosif joins coalition led by Share Action in view of IORPs vote Shareholders Rights Directive


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Eurosif Update New Eurosif Executive Director Eurosif is very pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Flavia Micilotta as its new Executive Director as of December 1st 2015. Ms Micilotta joins from the Brussels based Foreign Trade Association (FTA), the umbrella organisation that promotes social compliance (BSCI) and environmental performance management (BEPI), where she worked as Sustainability Consultant.   In her role at the FTA, Ms Micilotta developed a supply chain program by fostering partnerships across Europe and South East Asia for international retail companies and was responsible for co-ordinating stakeholder management and engaging with policy makers. Over the years, Ms Micilotta has accumulated a wealth of experience on Corporate Social Responsibility and SRI, with a particular focus on valuing intangibles through ESG performance, across sectors. She worked on SRI for Vigeo group and KBC group and as sustainability consultant for Deloitte and EY. She is one of the founding members of the UN Global Compact in Belgium and a former board director of the Belgian Sustainable Investment Forum, BELSIF.

Eurosif at Greens/EFA European Parliament Conference On November 19th, Thierry Philipponnat, Frenchsif President and Eurosif board member represented Eurosif in a panel focusing on legislation promoting sustainable investment practices in different EU member states. As part of the event “Promoting environmentally and socially sustainable investment” organised by the Greens/EFA group MEPs Sven Giegold, Karima Delli and Bas Eickhout, the panel was also complemented by Eurosif’s Dutch member VBDO, represented by Frank Wagemans who gave an overview of the Dutch market. 

Eurosif at Novetic annual event  On 24 November, less than one week before the COP21, Eurosif attended Novethic’s Annual Event in Paris. This year’s edition was dedicated to institutional investors, and gathered over 150 asset owners from around 10 countries. Key topics included: European asset owners’ climate change commitments and low-carbon investment strategies and tools, broader ESG matters such as data security, gender diversity on boards and ESG challenges for supply chains, and approaches to rethinking financial business models to deliver a sustainable financial system. A key discussion point was the dilemma of implementing a comprehensive climate policy for investors with a major presence in countries with carbon-intensive economies and less ambitious climate policies. Wider ESG aspects were also discussed, notably the need to improve corporate practices on data security, the direct link between harnessing ‘pink capital’ and financial value creation, ESG risks stemming from supply chains, as well as investor strategies to measure and manage these risks. The event ended with reflections on ways in which the financial system can contribute to building a greener and more sustainable economy, and the related UNEP Inquiry.


Eurosif Policy Occupational Retirement Provision (IORPs) Directive (2003/41/EC)
The European Commission’s revision proposal (2014/0091(COD)) included a requirement for all IORPs to consider ‘new or emerging risks relating to climate change, resource use and the environment.’ Regrettably, both the European Parliament and Council have removed these requirements from the initial draft. Ahead of the vote in ECON Committee on 1 December, Eurosif joined a coalition of stakeholders led by ShareAction, pushing for transparency and management of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in the revision of IORPs Directive. A joint letter was sent to all MEPs from the ECON Committee urging them to mandate all IORPs to consider ESG risks in their decision-making process and to require transparency around investment policies and practices, by adopting a series of amendments made by MEPs.

Revision of the Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD) (2007/36/EC)
The Commission’s proposal aimed at tackling corporate governance shortcomings relating to listed companies and their boards, shareholders (institutional investors and asset managers), intermediaries and proxy advisors, has since early autumn entered negotiations at the Council based on the mandate it adopted in March. The Parliament (Committee on Legal Affairs – JURI) adopted a draft report on the proposal on May 7, which was voted at the plenary session on July 8. Currently the draft texts are subject to trialogue negotiations. While the Council removed any reference to environmental, social and governance issues from the Commission’s proposed text, the Parliament’s voted text keeps these elements and goes beyond the Commission’s proposal. Eurosif has been actively engaging with the revision process since before its publication (April 2014) and is now following negotiations at the Council with a view to mobilize its national members to make this revision a success for the SRI community. 

Commission Work Programme 2016 The Commission has recently published its Work Programme 2016: ‘No time for business as usual’. The plan is based on the ten political priorities set out in President Juncker’s Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change. This aims to address the key challenges faced by the EU today, including the gap in jobs, growth and investment, and the threats of climate change and migration. The Programme sets out the legislative agenda and framework for programmes and measures amongst which key pillars are a resilient energy union with a strong climate policy and a deeper and fairer internal market with a strengthened industrial base, which includes the Capital Markets Union (CMU) Initiative. 23 key policy initiatives are foreseen for meeting the 10 priorities while 68 pieces of new legislation will apply in 2016.   Eurosif will be monitoring the evolution of the SRI-related priorities and provide you with analysis as they pass through the legislative process. Watch this space!  Capital Markets Union (CMU) Action Plan released on 30 September. The European Commission has back in September released its Capital Markets Union (CMU) Action Plan defining the building blocks of an effective and integrated CMU to be put in place by 2019. The CMU aims to enable European companies to access capital markets in a more integrated and effective manner in order to drive economic growth, create jobs and meet investment needs in the EU. Eurosif is currently preparing a position on the CMU Action Plan, to be published by the end of 2015.


SIF News FFS – Publicly available the first benchmark on responsible investment by pension plans in Italy  Using VBDO’s methodology, FFS has launched the first edition of the benchmark on sustainable and responsible investments by the 50 biggest pension plans in Italy. Although the results show a limited adoption of SRI strategies, FFS hopes that the benchmark will contribute to foster a greater development of ESG investments in the Italian pension industry.

We are pleased to announce the publication of the first benchmark on SRI and pension plans in Italy, a market with a lot of potential in our country. We thank VBDO for the excellent cooperation, that could serve as a pilot for a further international roll-out as well.

Francesco Bicciato, FFS Secretary General

FNG – The FNG Label 2016 will be awarded on 8 December

FNG is very pleased to officially award its new FNG Label for sustainable mutual funds. The awarding event takes place on 8 December in Berlin and is dedicated to all interested parties. For this event, FNG provides several presentations about the topic ‘quality insurance and sustainable investment’. Discussion and networking will bring the event down to a round figure. For more information please visit the FNG website or register directly for the event here.

Major progress for French SIF on ESG disclosure

Article 173 of the French Law for Energy Transition and Green Growth (august 2015) requires institutional investors to report on ESG practices, on their contribution to energy transition and on their exposure to climate-related risks, by measuring portfolios’ carbon footprint and explaining their contribution to climate and energy policy goals. Such legislation could be implemented at European level. 
“This new law represents a very important step towards energy transition in France. The environmental transparency requirements represent a real game changer in the climate change debate for investors, as the impacts will now have to be factored in their funds and portfolios. We intend to push the European Union to implement such an ambitious legislation.”

 

Thierry Philipponnat, Frenchsif President

 

Spainsif – Nordea SRI Breakfast 

Spainsif organised together with Nordea a breakfast meeting on SRI on November 25th. Sasja Beslik, Head of Responsible Investment at Nordea Asset Managers elaborated on the firm’s ESG practice added value for investors. More

UKSIF and GSIA are asking members to sign the PARIS PLEDGE FOR ACTION.  This pledge, coordinated by the French government, is an opportunity for non-government actors to be recognised for their commitment to taking action on climate change in a public statement launched at COP21 in December. The text for the Paris Pledge for Action can be requested by contactinEllie Stewart. VBDO Executive director Giuseppe van der Helm gives notice of resignation Giuseppe van der Helm, executive director of The Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO), resigns as of December 1, 2015. He has been the executive director of the association since November 1, 2006. Van der Helm is moving on after nine years because he is ready for a new challenge. During the coming months the VBDO will be looking for a new director. Ton Bervoets, an ex-board member of the association, will support the VBDO team until a new director is found.

Affiliate News

Bloomberg publishes a complimentary weekly round-up of all things sustainable finance in Sustainable Finance Brief
The Brief delivers on industry trends, like green and social bonds, and major themes like executive compensation, employee engagement, and the business opportunities created by the transition to a more sustainable global economy. For More information click here Candriam Investors subscribes to the Transparency Code for the year 2015-2016 Candriam Investors Group updated its Transparency Code in August 2015 for its Core SRI Funds, its Emerging Market SRI Funds, its Indexed SRI Funds and its SRI Employee Savings Plan. They are available In English, French and Dutch”. For more information click here Etica Sgr’s commitment towards climate change In accepting the UN-PRI and UNEP FI initiative Montreal Carbon Pledge, Etica Sgr undertook to measure, manage and report upon the carbon footprint of its investments in order to identify priority areas and actions for reducing emissions. For more information click here Oekom Research and GES deepen partnership Global engagement services provider GES replaces its previous GES Risk Rating with the Corporate Rating of sustainability rating expert oekom research. Now, all clients of the GES Engagement Forum are able to access the Corporate Rating information provided by Oekom research. For more information, click here Novethic on Climate: A priority of European Investors Novethic has published its 8th survey on responsible investment practices among European asset owners in 13 countries. The results show that climate is a priority for 53% of the 181 institutions surveyed, together holding €7,367 billion in assets. For more information click here Vigeo and EIRIS, two major ESG research agencies, merged to create a single Global agency The newly merged global company will have a strong network of partners around the world.Through their complementary expertise, their combined geographical presence and the coverage of their research, this group profits from a unique strategic position in the SRI market. For more information, click here
“This merger makes sense. It allows both agencies to undertake a meaningful shift in their size at the moment when the RI market is developing, diversifying and growing in maturity.”

 

Nicole Notat, Vigeo President


Affiliate Research

Eiris research on human capital management
EIRIS is soon to release new human capital management criteria and enhanced banking sector criteria covering retail banking and corporate loan financing.

 

Sustainalytics’ Publishes New Report – Dead End for Anti-Competitive Tax Deals?

 

Sustainalytics’ examines the ESG implications for investors given the European Commission’s decision to order Luxembourg and the Netherlands to recover unpaid corporate taxes. Download the report here
  New study unveils the carbon risks for the Swiss financial centre The study “Carbon Risks for the Swiss Financial Centre” commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and carried out by CSSP and South Pole Group is the first of this kind to assess the risk of a carbon bubble in Switzerland. For more information click here SBI assesses the performance of European retail funds using ESG criteria The Sustainable Business Institute (SBI), publisher of the market platform, has analysed the performance of approximately 400 European retail funds using ESG criteria for the first three quarters of the year. For more information, click here

Events

COP 21 – Sustainable Innovation Forum 2015 The Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF15) is the largest business focused event held during the annual Conference of Parties (COP), taking place this year on the 7th-8th December at COP21 in Paris.

  • More Information here

SRI Jobs

For details of current career opportunities in SRI, have a look at our jobs section here


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Eurosif is a proud member of the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA). Find out more about the alliance: www.gsi-alliance.org/

 

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