Weekly Highlights October 20, 2011

Oct 24, 2011 1:00 PM ET

October 20, 2011


More than 280 global investors issue fresh plea for climate action
(Source: Green Business)  A coalition of more than 280 of the world's largest institutional investors has today issued a global plea for governments to take "new and meaningful steps" in their efforts to tackle climate change. The group of 285 investors, which together manage assets worth more than $20tr, today issued a new report and statement to G20 governments calling for an urgent acceleration in the development of domestic and international low carbon policies. Associated Profiles : Investor Network on Climate Risk

Newsweek’s Third Annual Green Rankings Highlight Top Environmental Performers
(Source: Sustainalytics ) NEWSWEEK has published its third annual Green Rankings, identifying the greenest among the world’s largest companies. Research partners Sustainalytics and Trucost evaluated each company’s performance on a number of criteria related to environmental impact, management and disclosure. Although Trucost is returning as a research partner for the third time, this is Sustainalytics’ first year collaborating with NEWSWEEK on the Rankings.  Associated Profiles : Sustainalytics

Why is Europe Greener Than the U.S.?
(Source: Daily Beast)  European corporations continue to beat American companies when it comes to environmental responsibility. Is the difference cultural--or regulatory?  Though sustainability has gained prominence worldwide, there are some noteworthy regional distinctions. First and foremost is the issue of disclosure, where Europe takes the clear lead. Of the top 100 global disclosure scores featured in the 2011 Green Rankings, Europe accounts for 65% (though it only represents one-third of the companies ranked). 


No Innocent Shareowners #OWS: The Duty of Care  
(Source: James McRitchie,  John Paulson, the hedge fund titan who made billions in the financial crisis by betting against the subprime mortgage market defends the 1%: “The top 1 percent of New Yorkers pay over 40 percent of all income taxes, providing huge benefits to everyone in our city and state.”


PwC Reports Changes Brewing in the Boardroom. Are They Enough?
(Source:  Sustainable Business Forum)  During the last two years, corporate directors have had to accommodate significant corporate governance changes, starting with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules expanding governance disclosures in the 2010 proxy season and including the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act in July 2010. The new advisory votes on executive compensation and whistleblower rules, among others, are clearly influencing the director’s oversight role. The financial crisis also led to some concern by many regarding the efficacy of the role of boards in meeting their oversight responsibilities. With the evolving corporate governance climate, corporate directors face increased scrutiny from shareholders, regulators, politicians, the media, and other stakeholders.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

HSBC to stop retail brokerage in UAE  
(Source:  BusinessWeek/Blomberg)  HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, will stop offering brokerage services to retail investors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and will focus on institutional clients after local trading volumes and stocks plummeted.  “Given the market today, the limited volumes, the risk and volatility for retail clients, we decided to primarily focus on the institutional side of the business,’’ Georges Elhedery, Middle East and North Africa head of Global Markets, said in an interview on Sunday. Associated Profiles : Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

Fund's social investment up in smoke
(Source: Canberra Times) The Future Fund is mocking the Government's anti-smoking laws by continuing to hold a $150 million stake in tobacco companies, the Greens say. The $75 billion fund, which was set up in 2006 to help pay federal public servants' pensions, also owns $180 million of shares in businesses involved in making nuclear weapons. Associated Profiles : Future Fund (Australia)

Sovereign wealth plan for Nigeria  
(Source: Business Live)  Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has laid out a time frame for the launch of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, paving the way for Africa’s biggest oil exporter to improve the management of often-squandered oil earnings.  Mr Okonjo-Iweala said the fund would be managed by global auditor and consultancy KPMG, which had already begun recruitment to get a board for the fund in place by mid-December.

Asset Managers

News Corporation braces for flak  
(Source: The Australian)  If shareholder votes of past years are any guide, the protest vote against some members of News Corporation's board at Friday's annual meeting could be sizable, but it is unlikely to precipitate any changes. Meanwhile, some analysts and investors say they are more focused on shareholder-friendly actions being taken, like a share buyback that is under way.  Associated Profiles : Hermes Equity Ownership Services

Middle East private equity players upbeat on prospects  
(Source: Zawya)  Dubai: Representatives of the global private equity industry, who are gathered in Dubai for the SuperReturn Middle East conference, yesterday said that despite a sharp slowdown in global deal flows, the Middle East region offers good opportunities for the industry. Abraaj Capital, the Dubai-based regional private equity firm, is looking to close up to two deals before year-end and is working on around 40 deals in countries from North Africa to South East Asia, a senior executive said yesterday.  Associated Profiles : Abraaj Capital

US Pension Funds

Ruling redraws battle lines on benefits  
(Source: North  Christie now faces either a drawn-out court battle over his health benefit revisions or a yearlong wait to close a constitutional provision that keeps judges from paying more as are other public workers. Christie on Tuesday called for a constitutional amendment that would rewrite the provision on judges' salaries and allow him to require members of the court to pay more toward their pension and health benefits.  Associated Profiles : New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits

Threat to state workers' pension perk causes rush at CalPERS
(Source: Sacramento Bee)  California government employees, fearing that lawmakers may soon shut down a controversial program that boosts their retirement payouts, have flooded the state's largest pension system with inquiries and requests to purchase the benefit. More than 12,000 members of the California Public Employees' Retirement System asked for price estimates to buy additional retirement service credit – sometimes called "airtime" – during the fiscal year that ended June 30. That was up 23 percent from 2009-10. 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 October 20, 2011