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newsletter 01/2017

Our topics:

1. In-house news

- Despite Brexit and Trump: Sustainable investment trend remains irreversible

2. Customers

- South Pole Group and oekom research: professional opinion on climate footprint of Nasdaq Helsinki

3. oekom Services

- ESG Impact Services

- Revised Position Paper emissions trading (ETS)

- oekom Country Rating 2017: sustainability assessment of 56 countries and the European Union

4. Market

- Sustainable investment market trends in the 3rd quarter of 2016

5. Studies/Publications

- Greenpeace: Clicking clean: who’s winning the race to build a green internet?

6. Initiatives

- Coworker (m/f) for CRIC executive board support

7. Books

- Margaret Robertson: Dictionary of Sustainability

- Mark Everard: Ecosystem Services: Key Issues

8. Events

- Institutional Money Congress 2017

- UKSIF Edinburgh Conference 2017

- CRIC Workshop in cooperation with the Steyler Ethik Bank: ethical, sustainable investment in a developmental context



1. In-house news

Despite Brexit and Trump: Sustainable investment trend remains irreversible

The UK government’s recent announcement of a “hard Brexit” and expected policy changes in the USA are already giving cause for political and economic uncertainty at this early stage in the year. Past endeavours to forge global understanding have gone into reverse, giving rise to fears of national protectionism and increasing exploitation of the environment. More than ever before, the international community must press ahead with the 2016 sustainability goals and their global aim for a shared world, and staunchly commit to enduring sustainability. Last year’s positive guideposts – such as the EU Parliament’s November endorsement of directives requiring pension funds to consider ESG criteria, or the introduction of CSR reporting duties for businesses – must be built on and put into action. Such developments give the companies themselves, as well as investors, even better orientation on their investments’ alignment with concrete sustainability goals. Continually improving growth figures and forecasts published by Eurosif, USSIF, FNG and other industry associations confirm this momentum is now irreversible.

This positive impetus also impacted oekom research’s business performance last year, as its analyst and account-management teams grew sharply, and new offices in London and New York gave it a much more visible international market presence. The oekom Universe also continued to grow (now covering 6,200 issuers), the rating methodology was further refined and new products were launched onto the market. ESG Impact Services is one such example – an innovative product for investors seeking portfolio alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The market is increasingly recognising the agency’s high-quality ratings and acknowledged this last year with numerous distinctions. oekom research’s client base also grew significantly, with more than 160 asset managers and asset owners in 13 countries now incorporating its research regularly into their investment decisions. As such, oekom research’s analyses currently influence around EUR 1.5 trillion assets under management.

“Despite – or perhaps precisely because of – recent key events such as Brexit or remaining uncertainty about the USA’s future political and economic policies, sustainable investment is attaining a greater impact than ever before,” says oekom research CEO, Robert Haßler. “The growth we’ve seen here over the past years shows the lever is working. Investors now understand: Sustainability can have a positive impact on the yield risk, and they can make a true contribution towards a better world. This has meanwhile become a market in its own right and the growth juggernaut has become unstoppable,” he continues.

The outlook for 2017 accordingly remains encouraging and positive: Germany holds this year’s G20 presidency and a number of national and international taskforces have started investigating the key question: How, overall, will the global financial system have to be modified to better stimulate climate-friendly and sustainable investing, and create better underlying conditions for green bonds?

This considerable market momentum will also impact oekom research’s future business development: “The team will continue to grow in 2017 and breach the 100-mark in March. Thanks to our customers’ positive response, we’ll continue extending our lead in various ESG market segments over the coming year,” concludes Robert Haßler.

Contact: Dieter Niewierra, Director Communications, dieter.niewierra@oekom-research.com, Tel. +49 89 5441-8457 


2. Customers

South Pole Group and oekom research: professional opinion on climate footprint of Nasdaq Helsinki

The South Pole Group and oekom research have jointly evaluated the climate footprint of the companies listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki index on behalf of Finnish innovation foundation Sitra. The South Pole Group is a global supplier of climate-related impact analyses and carbon footprinting data. The results of the analysis were juxtaposed with the climate impact of other indices: notably the Nasdaq Stockholm, as well as the MSCI World, DAX and Eurostoxx 500. 130 companies were investigated in total with respect to their CO2 footprints, whereby scopes 1 to 3 (direct emissions; indirect emissions from consumption of purchased electricity; and emissions of other up- and downstream components of the value-chain, such as service providers, suppliers and products) were taken into account. 

The results can be found by clicking the following link: http://bit.ly/2kj2E64.


3. oekom Services

ESG Impact Services

Investors not only want to understand what they can influence with their investments, but also how they can specifically measure and report on them. Consequently, asset managers are coming under increasing pressure to visualise their investment strategy’s contribution to sustainability – also from a risk-management perspective.

To provide investors with concrete information and assist them in their decision making, oekom research has developed a holistic suite of tools – the oekom ESG Impact Services –comprising the following modules which can be used separately, depending on their needs:

- The oekom Sustainability Solutions Assessment offers investors detailed information and data on the extent to which companies further or hinder the attainment of the UN SDGs or individual sustainability topics (such as climate change, water, health) through its product and service range.

- The oekom ESG Impact Assessment offers investors a comprehensive range of impact data relating to companies’ product portfolios and production processes. The data enable quantification of a company’s or portfolio’s / investment fund’s contribution towards sustainable development and attainment of the UN SDGs.

 

The information gleaned in this way can be provided in the form of elementary data, portfolio analyses or customer- or topic-specific investment universes.

Contact: clients@oekom-research.com


Revised Position Paper emissions trading (ETS)

„oekom

Emissions trading, often also referred to as “Cap & Trade”, is a central international climate-protection instrument. Under such systems, prescribed goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be implemented where the lowest costs arise. With its EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the European Union is a pioneer in implementing emissions trading. Other regions and nations have also introduced appropriate systems or are preparing to do so.

oekom research regards emissions trading as an important element in achieving the climate-protection goals, and it reports on the current status of developments, discussions and trends in its updated Position Paper.

The Position Paper is available in German and English and can be ordered free of charge at: communications@oekom-research.com


oekom Country Rating 2017: sustainability assessment of 56 countries and the European Union

In its latest Country Rating, oekom research assessed a total of 57 nations, including all EU, OECD and BRICS nations, as well as key Asian and South American countries in terms of their respective sustainability performance. The assessed nations account for over 94 percent of the world’s outstanding sovereign bonds. The analysis is based on around 100 individual criteria and incorporates aspects such as the observation of human rights, freedom of opinion and the press, investments in education and healthcare, and the constellation of the countries’ energy mixes and climate protection measures. In addition to the assessment of these aspects the report as a particular focus on the EU, the USA, China and Turkey.

The highest ranking countries in the oekom Country Rating (Sweden, Norway and Denmark) achieved a score of B+ on the rating scale which ranges from A+ (highest score) to D-. The UK is ranked 12th and Germany 14th place. France and the USA are ranked 17th and 39th place. oekom research has awarded Prime status to a total of 30 countries, which is equivalent to 52.6 per cent of the total number of countries analysed or 15.5 per cent of the United Nations member states. This is a slight improvement over last year’s figures (28 countries in 2016).

The rating primarily serves as a basis for decision-making for investors and financial service providers with an interest in sustainable investments. Together with financial ratings, the oekom research Country Rating can enable a more comprehensive assessment of the long-term solvency and, therewith, risk associated with sovereign bonds.

The oekom Focus Country Rating contains the individual findings of the Country Rating and can be requested free of charge from communications@oekom-research.com.


4. Market

Sustainable investment market trends in the 3rd quarter of 2016

According to the Sustainable Business Institute (SBI), publisher of the market platform www.nachhaltiges-investment.org, a total of 409 sustainable mutual funds were approved for sale in Germany, Austria and/or Switzerland at 30 September 2016. These funds had around EUR 65 billion (total fund assets) invested as at 30 September 2016. At the end of 2015, SBI only registered 400 funds with circa EUR 45 billion invested (volume of public tranches).

Detailed information on the developments of the SBI fund database’s fund universe can be found at: http://bit.ly/2kj7alh.


5. Studies/Publications

Greenpeace: Clicking clean: who’s winning the race to build a green internet?

greenpeace green internet

Seven percent of global electricity consumption is currently attributed to the IT sector. Internet usage and operation of the associated infrastructure play a central role here, and this is likely to become increasingly relevant, given that a tripling of global internet traffic is predicted by 2020. For Greenpeace, the IT industry assumes a central pioneering function in its choice of power and electricity sources because, when key industry players make a point of using electricity from renewable energy sources, it will have a direct impact on the development of “green” energies. In this context, this study looks at the trend and reports on the first successes achieved through commitments of industry leaders such as Apple, Google and Facebook to use energy produced 100 percent from renewable sources. The study uses internet company scorecards to inform on, inter alia, the individual suppliers’ energy track records in the areas of video / music / audio streaming, messaging, search, blogs, social media and e-commerce.

The Greenpeace study can be downloaded from the following link: http://bit.ly/2jKdSzw.


6. Initiatives

Coworker (m/f) for CRIC executive board support

The Corporate Responsibility Interface Center (CRIC) is a non-profit organisation for the promotion of ethical and sustainable investment. It currently has around 100 institutional and private members in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and, as such, is one of the largest platforms of this type extending beyond Germany’s borders. CRIC engages in activities throughout the German-speaking region and is based in Frankfurt am Main. It is now looking for a committed, independent and highly organised coworker (m/f, 50% position) who will be part of an experienced team and take over tasks to support the management.

Further information is available at: http://bit.ly/2jKo1fB.


7. Books

Margaret Robertson: Dictionary of Sustainability

robertson dictionary sustainability

Over the past years, many disciplines and, accordingly, (technical) terms and terminologies have evolved in the sustainability field. With the “Dictionary of Sustainability”, Margaret Robertson wishes to give interested debutants as well as students a canon with binding, clear and easily understandable definitions of sustainability-related terms and concepts. In doing so, the lexicon’s ambition is to provide full and precise coverage of the vocabulary currently used in theoretical and practical circles alike. In some instances, it also takes a more detailed look at selected sustainability topics.

The dictionary additionally intends to let users find what they are searching for... unambiguously, reliably and in less time than a search would take on the internet where – according  to the author – numerous sustainability-related articles and explanations can be found, but with sharply varying degrees of quality and validity.

More information can be found at: http://bit.ly/2kKnjRl.


Mark Everard: Ecosystem Services: Key Issues

everard

The concept of environmental services has meanwhile become firmly rooted as a key concept in the nature- and species-protection dialogue. In doing so, nature, biodiversity and ecosystems are regarded as natural capital which is permanently of service, and therefore also of benefit, to mankind. Besides providing natural resources, these services also include e.g. the pollination of arable crops by insects, flood protection, and the leisure-time and recreational value of nature.

In his book, Mark Everard looks at the key issues of environmental services. He shows how the term has evolved and developed since the second half of the 20th century, describing milestones such as the United Nations initiative the "Millennium Ecosystem Assessment". He investigates how ecosystems and their quality/services can be classified and assessed from an  economic perspective, and the limitations that exist in doing so. In “Ecosystem Services: Key Issues”,  the ecosystem-services lecturer at the University of the West of England provides numerous international case examples to demonstrate how the concept of ecosystem services can also contribute to a more sustainable development.

Further information is available at: http://bit.ly/2kLH2vT.


8. Events

Institutional Money Congress 2017

The 10th Institutional Money Congress will be held in Frankfurt am Main from 21 to 22 February 2017. Ex-ECB-President Jean-Claude Trichet and Nobel Foundation Executive Director Lars Heikensten are just some of the prominent participants expected at the jubilee of this institutional investors’ industry event. Visitors will be able to choose from over 80 workshops with fund managers and lectures by international financial experts. Attendance of the Congress is restricted to institutional investors, and advance reservation is required.

Further information on the Congress offer can be found by clicking the link: http://www.institutional-money.com/kongress/kongress-2017/.


UKSIF Edinburgh Conference 2017

The UK umbrella association for sustainable investment, UKSIF, is, meanwhile for the fourth time, inviting visitors to the UKSIF Edinburgh Conference to discuss the latest developments not only in Scotland and the UK, but also in other markets. The event, which will be held on 23 and 24 February 2017, is open to UKSIF members (free of cost) as well as to non-members (subject to an entrance fee).

Julia Haake (Director International Business Development), Jaspreet Duhra (Senior Manager Client Relations) and Lisa Breitenbruch (Analyst) will be attending for oekom research.

Further information is available at: http://uksif.org/events/edinburgh-conference-2017/.


CRIC Workshop in cooperation with the Steyler Ethik Bank: ethical, sustainable investment in a developmental context

Global companies are faced with the challenge of being attractive to investors whilst simultaneously assuming global responsibility – both for their own production locations as well as for products and services sourced from suppliers. The reason for this is that investors are increasingly basing their investment decisions not only on financial KPIs but also increasingly on observance of environmental and social standards.

With the event in Sankt Augustin on 03 March 2017, CRIC and Steyler Ethik Bank want to look at which are the most important development-related ethical, sustainable financial instruments. Using concrete investment cases as examples, they want to show what such investments can achieve. oekom research will be attending the event with Karin Siemann (Senior Manager Client Relations).

Further information is available at: http://bit.ly/2juKRoe.


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