Stockholm (NordSIP) – As the 72nd Regular Session of United Nations General Assembly prepared to gather in New York last weekend, a flurry of speculation exploded following comments at the Montreal 2017 Summit from White House Senior Adviser Everett Eissenstat that the U.S. might not pull out of the Paris agreement but offer to reengage the deal on terms more favourable to the U.S. instead (NordSIP). Not so fast, wrote NordSIP’s Glenn Leaper: European diplomats were likely hearing what they wanted to hear. Sure enough, the White House, U.S. National Economic Director Gary Cohn and finally president Trump himself all put the speculation to rest. Ah, the power of wishful thinking..!
Still in New York, Swedish insurance company The Folksam Group presented its acquisition of green bonds issued by the International Finance Corporation, the private sector branch of the World Bank Group, to the tune of USD350mn at the 9th annual UN Private Sector Forum (NordSIP). Folksam, one of the largest asset managers in Sweden offering insurance policies and pension investments to some one in two Swedes, has now exceeded its sustainable investment objective of SEK12bn, and is readjusting its target to SEK 25bn in green investments by 2018.
Meanwhile, the UN Global Compact released its “Business Solutions to Sustainable Development” Progress Report, which measures advances in business and finance towards achieving the SDGs, to coincide with the UN General Assembly (NordSIP). Among other things, the report noted “significant progress” in sustainability integration into core business strategy, support for anti-corruption policies and increasing engagement at the CEO level. There is still work to be done in areas such as supply chains, know-how for SMEs and the marked gap between stated policies and taking action.
Active investment management firm Man Group announced this week that it has become a signatory to the UN PRI group-wide, meaning the Principles have been extended to its Man AHL, Man FRM and Man Global Private Markets (NordSIP). The menu of possible actions for incorporating ESG principles offered by the PRI complements Man’s investment businesses at this time, which encompass discretionary, systemic and quantitative strategies, private markets and investment and advisory services.
Finally, NordSIP took a look at the burgeoning sustainable financing in Africa by Denmark, now buttressed by plans by the current government to expand its programmes even further (NordSIP). This, however, did not paper over inconsistencies in the Danish government’s plans for green accounting, or the lack of it, as outlined in its latest finance budget proposal.
Heard on E-Street
While Rachel King finds that a glass ceiling remains for women aspiring for senior management positions in central banks despite a substantial increase in the number of women working there (Central Banking), female hedge fund managers are shattering the glass ceiling, with the average return generated by female-run hedge funds over twice as high as returns delivered by male managers in the first seven months of 2017. Male impulses were to blame (HedgeNordic). Meanwhile a feminist of the future is busy advancing gender equality, one share at a time (NordSIP).
Quote of the Week
“The planet will not negotiate with us… The Paris Climate Agreement can be improved, we can have new contributions, but we will not backtrack. [The deal] binds us, it unites us” – French President Emmanuel Macron, addressing the UN General Assembly (Time).
Question of the Week
Which large pension fund divested from six giant companies last June, including ExxonMobil and Gazprom, on the basis of violations against the Paris Climate Accord?
Famous Last Words
Nicaragua is set to join the Paris Climate Accord, leaving the U.S. in the company of Syria as the only two nations left in the world refusing to support the deal to fight global warming (Bloomberg). ‘Nuff said.
Wishing you a happy weekend. See you at TBLI!
Your NordSIP team
Image: (c) NosorogUA – shutterstock