Eurosif October 2014 Newsletter

Eurosif October 2014 Newsletter

04 October 2014

Eurosif October 2014 Newsletter

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In this issue:

 2014 Annual Event review 

 6th Sustainable and Responsible Investment Study 

Position on the European Shareholder Directive

SRI Agenda for European Policy-makers 

 

Eurosif Update

Welcome! Eurosif is happy to welcome two new Member Affiliates: Arabesque and ShareAction.

Arabesque offers a quantitative approach to sustainable investing. It uses a unique asset management service combining state of the art systematic portfolio management technology with the values of the United Nations Global Compact, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investments (UN PRI), and balance sheet and business activity screening based. Arabesque uses non-financial ESG information (environmental, social and governance) to improve the quality of the portfolio and drive outperformance. Website address: www.arabesque.com

ShareAction is a charity promoting Responsible Investment by pension funds and fund managers. Bringing together leading charities, trade unions, faith groups and individual investors, its aim is to catalyse a shift at each level of the investment chain, so that Responsible Investment becomes the norm. ShareAction has built a strong track record of persuading major investors to increase shareholder activism on environmental, social and governance issues. Today, ShareAction is recognised in the UK as the leading NGO that monitors and engages with the investment industry. Website address: www.shareaction.org

Eurosif’s Annual Event took place in Brussels on October 9. With a record attendance of over 120 delegates from 70 companies, the event was a great success.  The morning session was open to Member Affiliates only and included an update on Eurosif’s activities and a discussion around: The emergence of soft law and implications for investors: The POSCO example.  The afternoon session was open to selected non-member affiliates. Thematic roundtables were held to debate the Shareholder Rights Directive and the Conflict Minerals Disclosure Directive. During the day, Eurosif unveiled its 6th Sustainable and Responsible Investment Study. The event’s agenda included contributions from Signe Ratso, Director of Trade Strategy and Analysis and Market Access, DG Trade, and Judith Sargentini, Member of the European Parliament. We want to thank all the participants for making this a memorable day. Member Affiliates can access the yearly review presentation delivered by Eurosif’s Executive Director, Francois Passant, here.

Eurosif ‘s newly redesigned website went live on July 14. The new design highlights Eurosif’s EU policy priorities and the European SRI Transparency Code. Members and Member Affiliates can continue using their existing passwords to access the restricted areas of the website.


Eurosif Policy

On April 9, The European Commission published a proposal for a revision of the European Shareholder Rights Directive. The proposal aim is to tackle corporate governance shortcomings relating to listed companies and their boards, shareholders (institutional investors and asset managers), intermediaries and proxy advisors. Eurosif is actively involved in this dossier and supports the objectives of the proposal You can find Eurosif’s detailed position on the proposal for a Shareholder Rights Directive here. On October 19, Eurosif and a group of international investors sent a joint statement to European policy makers recommending them to adopt a stronger conflict minerals legislation. The statement urges EU policy makers to ensure more compatibility between the proposed EU conflict minerals regulation and Section 1502 of the US Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (known informally as “Dodd-Frank Section 1502”), which aims to prevent mineral sourcing revenues from fuelling the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).You can find the statement and a the list of signatories here. Eurosif has published a set of policy suggestions to European policy-makers to broaden and strengthen the adoption of SRI practices across Europe. The suggestions are as follows:

  1. Foster greater incorporation of non-financial aspects into institutional investors’ investment decisions;
  2. Promote active and long-term oriented share-ownership;
  3. Foster transparency, accountability to and awareness of individual investors;
  4. Progress relevant corporate transparency.

Aim of the suggestions is to foster a greater dissemination of SRI practices amongst institutional investors and amongst the retail market. Click here to learn more. On September 29, the European Council adopted the Directive on Disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by large companies and groups. Europe’s largest companies will be required to disclose information on policies, risks and outcomes as regards environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery issues, and diversity on boards of directors. The Directive is a first step towards the implementation of the European Council conclusions of 22 May 2013 on the need for further transparency on tax matters and for ensuring country-by-country reporting by large companies and groups. The incoming European Commission has been approved by the European Parliament. Its team, headed by Jean-Claude Juncker, is expected to take office on the 1st of November. Jonathan Hill was confirmed by the European Parliament as EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union and Jyrki Katainen for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.


Eurosif Research

On October 9, Eurosif unveiled its 6th Sustainable and Responsible Investment Study. The Study highlights the scale of Sustainable and Responsible Investment practices and trends in Europe and across 13 European countries. This edition brings several innovations in particular more details around Exclusions, Impact Investing and ESG Integration approaches. According to the Study, all responsible investment strategies have grown at double-digit rates between 2011 and 2013, faster than the broad European investment market. You can find Eurosif ‘s study here.


SIF News

FFS 3rd Italian SRI Week coming up from November 4th to 12th. The 2014 edition will feature 10 events, promoted by FFS in association with more than 30 sponsors and partners. The final event will be hosted by the Italian Stock Exchange. Main topics: SRI and insurance companies, SRPI, natural capital, climate change, impact investing. Full programme online here

FNG FNG will realise its quality label for sustainable funds in cooperation with the French research centre Novethic. FNG has come to this decision following a request for proposals that had started in February 2014. The label will enter the market in 2015.SPAINSIF Spainsif celebrated its 5th Annual Event on October 15 in Madrid. The event brought together 240 persons demonstrating an increase of the SRI offer and demand and the consolidation of the SRI strategies in Spain. Read the press release here.

VBDO
‘Sustainable Investing by Pension Funds in The Netherlands’ by VBDO shows a continuous improvement in the scores of Dutch pension funds. At the same time pension funds could consult their participants regarding the preferences for investments. The first copy of the benchmark was presented to Ms. Joanne Kellermann of DNB

 


Member Affiliate News

Investing in Commodities in Southeast Asia: An ESG perspective Sustainalytics presents the key value chain-related ESG risks for the region's four main commodities and examines the ESG performance of selected major players. We also share insights from our May 2014 corporate access field trip in the region. Click here to download. CDP Climate Performance Leadership INDEX 2014 – Investor Analysis Powered by ECPI. CDP — the international, non-profit organisation providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information — presented the CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014, revealing which companies around the world are doing the most to combat climate change. ECPI was requested to conduct some of the market performance work on the leading CDP companies.To learn more about it click here. To read the CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014 Report click here. EIRIS Portfolio Analysis is a new online, analytical tool that provides a sophisticated snapshot comparison of portfolios on sustainability and global norms. EIRIS has also recently shared findings from surveys of financial consumers commissioned from IPSOS - one in France with the FIR; the other in Great Britain. Speak up! As called upon by Eurosif President Giuseppe van der Helm, we need to ‘speak up!’ about our SRI activities. EMG is therefore expanding its team with a new Dutch Director: Bjorn Sanders. He will help organizations to define a CSR ambition, create a strategy, make it happen and: ‘speak up!’ Inrate Sustainability Breakfast: November 18th and 19th, Zurich and Geneva. As one of the sponsors of the European SRI Study 2014, Inrate is dedicating the next breakfasts to this topic. François Passant will present the most important findings of the study. Furthermore, renowned representatives of the Swiss sustainable finance market will discuss with you trends and developments in Switzerland and abroad. The registration form can be accessed here. Notenstein Private Bank in cooperation with Doric Investment is launching an open-ended investment fund specialising in real estate targeted exclusively at professional and semi-professional investors. Notenstein Sustainable Real Estate Europe focuses on office and retail properties positioned in prime locations in thriving European cities. The main tool for identifying suitable metropolitan areas is an innovative location-rating created by Notenstein's sustainability experts. institutional@notenstein.ch Strong ESG score for Robeco Property Equities. The GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) is used by Robeco to engage with the companies in which they invest with the aim to improve the sustainability performance of the real estate sector. More information here. Erste Asset Management – upcoming ESG Letter discusses the oil sector. In its upcoming ESG Letter that can be found under www.esgletter.com and will be released in the mid of October, Erste Asset Management (EAM) discusses the topic sustainability in the oil-sector. The largest Austrian asset manager puts a spotlight on social, environmental and corporate governance factors of leading oil companies. In the engagement section EAM reports the strategies and policies concerning security in the workplace of large oil companies. This edition of the ESG Letter also takes a closer look at OMV, the Austrian player in this sector. Etica Sgr reaches the milestone of € 1 billion of assets under management for Valori Responsabili mutual funds. This result was achieved thanks to the excellent development of net inflows and to the good performances of funds, managed by Anima.


Member Affiliate Research

Arabesque and the University of Oxford recently published a report summarising all academic evidence on how sustainability can drive financial outperformance. Co-authored by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford and Arabesque Asset Management, ‘From the Stockholder to the Stakeholder’ analyses over 190 academic studies, industry reports and books. Amongst the report’s key findings include that 80% of studies show that stock price performance of companies is positively influenced by good sustainability practices, with 88% of the research showing that robust ESG practices result in better operational performance of firms. To meet expectations of institutional investors and deepen its SRI research, Meeschaert Asset Management has launched a new methodology for one of its SRI mutual fund: MAM Humanis. Based on “Creating Shared Value” concepts, this new approach aims at reconciling entrepreneurial activities and stakeholder value creation. For more information, please contact Meeschaert Asset Management at contact-isr@meeschaert.com The use of sustainability ratings improves the risk-return ratio of investments in corporate bonds. This is one of the key findings of the "oekom Corporate Bonds Study“, published by the independent rating agency oekom research. It is the first comprehensive analysis on sustainability and corporate bonds worldwide. More information here. MSCI ESG Research’s Latest Thematic Report details at-risk companies, commodities and counties at the nexus of water resource competition, “Corn or Current? The Agro-Industrial Water Conflict.” The report, written by Senior Analyst Cyrus Lotfipour, notes that nearly USD 1 billion in corn production annually is at risk. Read the report here. responsAbility Research Insight “The rise, fall and dynamic revival of India’s microfinance market“.Access to financial services for the 800 million adults in India has been defined as a key objective. A study by responsAbility Investments examines how microfinance institutions are using innovative models to close the massive supply gap. As Sustainability is embedded in its business model and is an essential part of its culture, Candriam Investors Group, has recently published its annual sustainability report. You can download it here


Events

FFS - 3rd Italian SRI Week November 4th to 12th. More information about the event here. High Level Conference "Finance for Growth – Towards a Capital Markets Union" November 6, 2014 in Brussels - Belgium More information about the event here. Frankfurt School of Finance & Management - Nachhaltige Geldanlagen November 12, 2014 in Frankfurt - Germany More information about the event here. Unlocking the potential of the social economy for EU growth November 17-18, 2014, in Rome – Italy. More information about the event here. CLEAR Info Webninar November 27, 2014 Information will follow soon.


SRI Jobs

For details of current SRI jobs, please see the jobs section of the Eurosif website here. To keep up to date with Eurosif activities, please follow us on Twitter! @Eurosif