1. In-house news
- oekom research expands its presence to the US
2. oekom Services
- 2016 Green Bond Awards Confirm Quality of oekom research’s Second Party Opinions
- Article 173: oekom research introduces service package for French investors
- Above-average growth in sustainable investments in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
- International interest in the German Sustainability Codex of the Council for Sustainable Development
- Independent study on the success of the Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI)
- Global Impact Investing Network: Annual Impact Investor Survey 2016
- WWF: Sustainability Guide for the fast-moving-consumer-goods sector (FMCG) in Asia
- Green Tec Awards 2016 winners decided
- June conference marathon for oekom research
1. In-house news
oekom research expands its presence to the US
oekom research, one of the leading international rating agencies for sustainable investments, continues to expand its global reach and establishes a subsidiary in the US. In a first step, seasoned investment and sustainability professional Ariane de Vienne joined oekom research on June 1st as head of the New York office. In her role she is responsible for managing operations in the US, and to drive business development, sales and client relations in North America. oekom´s expansion is a critical move to support the world’s largest investment market with high quality ESG research and sustainable investment services.
With ecological, social and governance issues being increasingly considered among responsible investors on a global scale, the rating agency sees it a logical development to expand and support its activities with an own office and dedicated spokesperson.
Expansion of global reach with seasoned sustainability expert
Ariane de Vienne has longstanding experience and a deep network in the investment world, in the U.S, Europe and Asia. Prior to joining oekom research, Ms. de Vienne was a Managing Director at financial services and research firm Cornerstone Capital, charged with building the firm's ESG-integrated investment advisory business.
Having begun her banking career in Germany, Ms. de Vienne gained extensive experience with her own impact and ESG consulting businesses in Hong Kong and New York. Prior to that she was Managing Director at Guggenheim Investment Advisors LLC. and served as Senior Vice President at David J. Greene and Company as well as in several Managing Director roles at JPMorgan Chase.
In addition to her professional career, Ms. de Vienne is on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations focusing on social impact investing as well as ecological issues, including the US Board of the The Climate Group. She is also a Senior Advisor to SustainAsia Ltd, Hong Kong, and an Ambassador to TBLI, a Dutch-based organization dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits and opportunities of impact investing.
Robert Haßler, CEO oekom research: “In terms of ESG integration, the US is currently at a turning point. While having been the cradle of ethical investing, it is only recently that ESG investing has entered the mainstream. An increasing number of asset owners and asset managers are looking for thoughtful, transparent and easy to access information to influence investment decisions. Nonetheless, the availability of high quality ESG research and data information remains limited. Here, we are very proud to have won a reputable expert such as Ms. de Vienne to join our team and leverage on these market opportunities.”
Ariane de Vienne adds: “Over the last two years, interest has grown considerably from mainstream US asset managers to build ESG into their process as they receive pressure from asset owners. oekom research´s services provide a much needed solution for both asset managers and investors. They allow an in-depth ESG analysis of existing holdings and tailoring of portfolios to better meet the respective investors’ values. I am very excited to build and expand oekom’s business in North America at this time. oekom’s expertise will be an important factor in increasing capital flows towards more sustainable investment solutions.”
Contact: Dieter Niewierra, Director Communications email@example.com +49 (0) 89 5441 8457
2. oekom Services
2016 Green Bond Awards Confirm Quality of oekom research’s Second Party Opinions
At the Green Bond Awards, which were bestowed for the first time by UK news and analysis portal Environmental Finance, half of the bond-specific categories were won by bonds whose sustainability quality had been confirmed in the framework of an oekom research Second Party Opinion (SPO).
The SPOs played a key role in the jury’s assessment of the bonds. The six bond categories in total (Bond Of The Year / Corporate, Bond Of The Year / SSA, Bond Of The Year / Municipal, Bond Of The Year / Bank, Project Bond Of The Year and Asset-Based Bond Of The Year) included the following winners which were appraised as outstanding thanks to oekom research’s SPOs.
• Category “Bond Of The Year / Corporate” was won by the TenneT Green Bond which serves to finance grid connection projects for offshore wind parks.
• Category “Bond Of The Year / Bank” was won by the ING Green Bond. This bond is used to realise various projects in the areas of renewable energies, green building, local public transport, waste disposal, water and energy efficiency.
• Category “Asset-Based Bond Of The Year” was won by the Berlin Hyp Green Bond. The issue is used to finance mortgage-backed real estate which either fulfils the requirements of demanding energy efficiency standards or has qualified for a green building certificate from an internationally recognised certification organisation.
“What all the bond concepts in these categories have in common is that they underwent oekom research’s rigorous Second Party Opinion audit process beforehand – and passed it. This not only encompasses a detailed assessment of the respective project and its appropriation of funds, but also an assessment of the sustainability performance of the issuer concerned,” explains oekom research CEO, Robert Haßler. “We would like to congratulate the Green Bond Awards winners and are all-the-more delighted that our SPOs helped them to achieve good results in this competition. We view the high quota of winners amongst the bonds as compelling confirmation of our work.”
In the course of the Green Bond Awards contest announced in early May, UK specialist portal Environmental Finance elected winners in a total of 15 categories. In doing so, the assessment categories covered the bonds themselves, as well as their issuers. Moreover, special prizes were also awarded for innovations, initiatives and personalities in the area of sustainable investments.
Article 173: oekom research introduces service package for French investors
France’s Energy Revolution Act which recently took effect requires investors to report on their sustainable investment policies and carbon footprints. oekom research has compiled a multi-service package for the circa 1,500 affected investors which will help them fulfil their new reporting duties even better, and could even lead to a clear competitive advantage. The package, which combines oekom Carbon Services with oekom Investment Advisory Services, offers investors a customised solution for defining and implementing their sustainable investment strategy.
oekom Carbon Services comprises the following:
• oekom Carbon Footprinting
• oekom Carbon Risk Rating
• oekom Fossil Fuel Screening
oekom Investment Advisory Services comprises the following four modules:
1. Definition of the sustainable investment policy
2. Review of the existing portfolios
3. Implementation of the sustainable investment policies in the portfolios (“exclusion”, “best-in-class”, “ESG criteria”, “integration”, “engagement”)
4. Assistance and controlling.
Article 173 of the Act, which is meanwhile an established term in France, has finally helped sustainable investment become a mainstream issue there. oekom research’s recognised expertise and experience will assist many players in further developing and strengthening their sustainable investments.
For further information, please click on the link: http://oekom-research.com/homepage/fr/oekom_article173_opportunite.pdf (French).
Above-average growth in sustainable investments in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
The volume of sustainable investments in Germany, Austria and Switzerland rose sharply in 2015. These are the findings of the annual statistics of sustainable investment industry association Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG). According to these statistics, investments which take financial as well as environmental and social criteria into account grew 65 percent to EUR 326 billion. The sustainable segment enjoyed stronger growth than its conventional counterparts in all three countries. In contrast to sustainable financial investments, responsible investments only apply a limited range of strategies or criteria, such as exclusion of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions. As global warming continues to intensify, and in light of the Paris Summit’s resolutions, climate change is also becoming increasingly important for financial protagonists.
“Our analyses of this topic in particular show that the segment is becoming increasingly aware of its social responsibilities,” explains FNG CEO, Claudia Tober. “But investors and asset managers also have a duty to actively and foresightedly steer potential risks for their managed assets. Popular strategies herefor are the use of possibilities for exerting influence via dialogue and at shareholders meetings, divesting CO2-intensive securities, and climate-friendly investments. The instrument of measuring portfolios’ CO2 footprints is also becoming increasingly important.”
For further information, please click on the link (in German): http://www.forum-ng.org/images/stories/Presse/Marktbericht_2016/FNG_Marktbericht2016_online.pdf.
International interest in the German Sustainability Codex of the Council for Sustainable Development
The German Sustainability Codex (GSC), a guide for reporting companies’ and organisations’ non-financial performance, is attracting increasing international interest, according to the Council for Sustainable Development. As an example, demand is increasing for standardised and, consequently, comparable criteria for informing stakeholders on businesses’ sustainability performance in European Union countries against the background of the CSR reporting obligation for large, highly visible companies which came into effect throughout the EU in December 2016 (including listed companies, banks, insurance companies, see oekom newsletter 01/2016). The Council for Sustainable Development’s codex could be used here as the basis for an international catalogue of criteria, while taking the needs of internationally active businesses and country-specific guidelines into account. The suitability of the German Sustainability Codex is currently being investigated in the framework of a pilot project in Austria. Moreover, in view of the current sustainability discussions, the first inquiries have already been received from Thailand, Japan and Israel.
For further information on the German Sustainability Codex, please visit: http://www.deutscher-nachhaltigkeitskodex.de/en/home.html.
Independent study on the success of the Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI)
The PRI Initiative commissioned consultancy Steward Redqueen to investigate the efficacy of its engagement and the results attained since its formation ten years ago. The investor network champions the integration of sustainability criteria into investment decision-making with the goal of contributing towards a more sustainable global financial system. Key questions which were looked into in the investigation included the extent to which the initiative succeeded in establishing awareness and knowledge of responsible investment around the globe, and which (positive) effects arose in the investment sector as a result. 70 percent of the respondents said, for example, that they have put responsible investment into practice as a result of the PRI initiative. Also, the implementation rate of the PRI guidelines in the respondents’ portfolios has risen significantly over the past years.
The study’s authors meanwhile regard the PRI as an important global player for the provision of information, engagement and the exchange of best practice in the sector. At the same time, the study also underlined the need for an even broader and more systematic implementation of ESG guidelines in the investment sector.
To download the report, please click on the link: http://www.stewardredqueen.com/uploads/nieuws/pri_final_report_single_pages.pdf.
Global Impact Investing Network: Annual Impact Investor Survey 2016
In a recent study of 158 participants – including fund managers, banks, development banks, family offices, pension funds and insurance companies – conducted by non-profit organisation Global Impact Investing Network, the respondents quoted a total investment volume of USD 15 billion of impact investments for 2015. The USD 17.7 billion investment volume planned for 2016 shows a clear upward trend (16 percent rise) for this type of investment. Impact investment not only aims at a financial yield, but also at a positive, measurable social or ecological footprint. Nearly half of respondents (48%) report primarily targeting social impact goals, while about the same number (47%) target both social and environmental impact goals. This represents eight percent growth compared to last year’s figures. Common topics in the social area relate to e.g. access to funding, job creation, and improving healthcare and education. On the environmental side, investment opportunities currently focus on renewable energies, energy efficiency and clean technology.
To download the study, please click on the link:
WWF: Sustainability Guide for the fast-moving-consumer-goods sector (FMCG) in Asia
In view of the fast-growing consumer goods sector in Asia and the associated sustainability challenges, WWF published a guide for companies and lenders in April 2016. In it, the environmental organisation describes the interdependencies, current risks and opportunities in Asia’s FMCG sector based on three main areas of action: agricultural raw materials, water and packaging. The report aims to provide an overview of the sustainability performance and reporting of key players in the Asian economic region and to convey background information on existing initiatives and possibilities. In particular, however, the publisher wants to draw attention to the potential economic benefits for businesses and investors that consider environmental and social factors in their business decisions and, conversely, the financial or reputational damage that could be caused by continuing to ignore the sustainability aspect in the sector. The WWF report demands swift action by Asia’s FMGC companies, as well as along their entire supply chains, and recommends that capital providers orientate themselves towards the current guide and its criteria when making relevant portfolio decisions. The WWF evaluated publicly accessible information on how a total of 26 large FMCG companies from nine Asian countries (including China, India, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand) handle agricultural raw materials, water and packaging.
To download the “Sustainability Guide for Financiers and Companies”, please click on the link:
Green Tec Awards 2016 winners decided
The Green Tec Awards are bestowed annually in recognition of companies, organisations or private individuals whose innovative “green” technologies, products or projects contribute to a more environmental and sustainable future. Besides the sustainability aspect, the marketability of the solutions and ideas also plays an important role in the appraisal. The inception of the awards in 2008 by initiators Marco Voigt and Sven Krüger was founded on their wish to show that sustainability and profitability do not mutually exclude one another. A further declared goal is to enthuse as many members of the public as possible for environmental commitment and technical innovations, to set new benchmarks, and thereby to advance an ecological lifestyle. The submissions are evaluated in industry-specific categories. In 2016, these categories included automobility, construction and living, energy, production, recycling and resources, water and waste water. Special prizes were additionally awarded in the startup category, for example.
For further details, please visit the organiser’s website at: http://www.greentec-awards.com/en/greentec-awards.html.
June conference marathon for oekom research
In June, the oekom research team will be present at several sustainable investment events, and available to answer questions on topical matters.
• Head of Research Kristina Rüter will participate in the meeting of the GISR (Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings) Technical Review Committee from 14-15 June 2016 in New York.
• On 20 June 2016, Director of International Business Development Dr. Julia Haake will discuss green bonds at the “Green Bonds Europe” conference in London which is organised by UK news portal Environmental Finance.
• On 21 June 2016, the PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) Initiative will celebrate its tenth anniversary, also in London. oekom research will be attending with several contact persons to network and exchange ideas.
• Finally, Europe’s most important sustainable investment event “RI Europe” will be held from 22-23 June 2016. oekom research will be present at the conference in London with its own information stand and will be available with contacts from Client Relations, Research Services, Research, and Communications to answer interested parties’ questions.
For further information on the London events and other dates, please click the link http://www.oekom-research.com/index_en.php?content=veranstaltungen.