Weekly Highlights November 17, 2011

Nov 18, 2011 11:30 AM ET

Weekly Highlights November 17, 2011

New Profiles Added to SHQ - ESG

  • Jon Entine  is a writer and researcher. His page on the American Enterprise Institute Web site says his focus is “corporate responsibility and science and society.” Entine’s Web site calls him “The Contrarian.”

  • Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) describes itself in brief as “…an advocacy, value chain and scientific powerhouse for the food, beverage and consumer products industry.”

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) writes this of its work: “Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO's efforts - to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.”

  • European Landowners’ Organization (ELO)’s mission statement reads: “ELO is committed to promoting a sustainable and prosperous countryside and to increasing awareness relating to environmental and agricultural issues.

  • Eric Schlosser is a widely-published writer and investigative journalist who is best known for his 2001 book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, which was adapted into a feature film.

  • Council on Foreign Relations describes itself as “an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher.”

US Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility Reporting Announcements
Governance & Accountability Institute is the US Data Partner for the Global Reporting Initiative.  Here are Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility reports as they are issued in the US:

Vectren Releases First Corporate Sustainability Report
(MarketWatch) November 16, 2011 - EVANSVILLE, IN -- Vectren Corporation has released its first corporate sustainability report, Sustainability In Practice, which illustrates the company's commitment to the environment and the communities it serves, as well as...

Heinz 2011 CSR Report Highlights Progress in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Solid Waste, Energy Consumption and Water Consumption
(MarketWatch) November 15, 2011 - PITTSBURGH-- H.J. Heinz Company today in its 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report disclosed the Company's progress toward achieving global sustainability goals that it announced in May 2008. In the report, Heinz Chairman,...

ESG / Sustainability

Odds of 'double-dip' recession about 50-50, S.F. Fed report says
(LA Times)  Fallout from the current European debt crisis could help plunge the United States economy back into recession by early next year.  A report released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco pegged the chance of recession at 1 in 2 during the first half of 2012. "The deteriorating fiscal realities in Europe have been keeping many a trader awake at nights, reliving the nightmare of the near-collapse of financial markets in the wake of the Lehman Bros.  bankruptcy " of Sept. 15, 2008, the bank's Economic Letter said.

Canadian regulators investigate alleged Chinese 'Ponzi scheme'
(The Vancouver Sun)  Beijing - China’s Sino-Forest Corp, which is under investigation by Canadian regulators and police over allegations of dodgy accounting, has issued a report rejecting claims it was a “Ponzi scheme”. The Toronto-listed company, which operates forest plantations in China, said Tuesday an investigation by an independent.Associated Profiles : Standard & Poors

Weather on steroids warning for UN  
(WAToday)  Southern Europe will be gripped by fierce heatwaves, drought in North Africa will be more common, and small island states face ruinous storm surges from rising seas, according to a report by United Nations climate scientists. The assessment is the most comprehensive yet by the 194-nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change into climate change's effect on extreme weather events. Associated Profiles : Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC)

2012 Proxy Season Preview  
(  As we near the end of 2011, public companies are beginning to look toward next year’s proxy season. Here are some observations on what to expect: Proxy access. Just a year ago, proxy access had been formally endorsed in the Dodd-Frank Act and mandated by the SEC for all U.S. public companies. In July of this year, however, proxy access ran into a roadblock in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court invalidated the SEC’s one-size-fits-all rule to allow shareholder access to a company’s proxy for the purpose of nominating directors on the grounds that the rule was “arbitrary and capricious.”

Wind power increasingly competitive and productive  
(ev wind)  "The best wind energy plants in the world already produce power as economically as coal, gas and nuclear generators; the average wind farm will be fully competitive by 2016."  Wind energy increasingly competitive and productive, new reports find. Wind power's costs are coming down and its usage is growing, according to two reports issued yesterday. The first, by London-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), said that land-based wind farm plants will be "fully competitive" with conventional electricity sources in five years; Associated Profiles : Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Companies should take more action on water risks
(The  Scarce water resources may, like climate change, harm companies' operations and profitability. Yet efforts to manage water-related risks are lagging behind the steps taken to tackle climate change, findings from the CDP Water Disclosure global report 2011 show. As an investor in about 8,000 companies worldwide, many of which rely on water, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) expects businesses to step up efforts in this area.  Associated Profiles : Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global (Statens pensjonsfond – Utland) , Norwegian Government Pension Fund - Norway

UAE is back on track... and growing fast  
(Emirates 24/7)  After suffering from a downturn in 2009 because of the global fiscal crisis and regional debt default problems, the UAE economy is back on track and recovery could more than offset the decline during that year. The two main emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are projected to spearhead growth, thanks to strong oil prices, restructuring, high public spending and other factors.  Associated Profiles : Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

Libya Secures $1 Billion of Frozen Funds to Pay Public Salaries
(BusinessWeek)  Libya said it secured $1 billion from the country’s frozen assets in Canada to pay public-sector salaries and pensions. The government will receive the money through the Temporary Financing Mechanism, a foreign-currency fund for Libya’s short- term needs, to pay for October salaries and pensions, the fund said today in an e-mailed statement. Associated Profiles : Libyan Investment Authority

Asset Managers

Calpers Approves Policy on Corporate Political Contributions
(Businessweek) The California Public Employees’ Retirement System approved new guidelines calling on companies in which the largest U.S. public pension invests to disclose their political contributions annually. The $227.5 billion fund’s governing board today approved an update to its corporate governance principles that asks companies to detail each year all their political and charitable donations, including those made through a third party. Associated Profiles : California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS)

BofA mired in billions of mortgage litigation 
(Housing Wire)  Bank of America (BAC: 6.13 +1.32%) more than tripled its litigation expenses resolving mortgage problems from Merrill Lynch and Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2011, but they appear to be making at least some progress. In the first nine months of 2011, the bank spent $3.8 billion in litigation expenses, up from $1.2 billion over the same period last year. Where an estimate is possible, the bank said in its third-quarter financial filing, a range of possible losses from a wide-array of pending lawsuits could total as high as $3.6 billion.  Associated Profiles : Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) of Mississippi


Pension pragmatism will benefit hedge funds  
(HMF Week)  News that CalPERS is likely to increase – or, at the very least, maintain – hedge fund investments next year bodes well for the industry’s prospects in 2012. Like other institutional investors, the $228.6bn US pension giant is holding steady in its commitment to hedge funds, despite turbulent markets and flailing performance. Why? Because while it is true that hedge funds have underperformed this year, other return-seeking assets, the main culprit being equities, have done a good deal worse.  Associated Profiles : California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS

This is just a sample of some of the articles from this weeks SustainabilityHQ Highlights.  You can view the full Highlights by using the following links.  Sustainability | ESG, Highlights for the Week of November 17, 2011