Sustainable Faith, Gender Equality ETFs – and Tax Transparency
This week saw the launch of the Lyxor Global Gender Equality fund, a ‘gender equality’ exchange-traded fund. The ETF will track an index developed by gender equality organisation Equileap and calculated by index provider Solactive (NordSIP).
In Sweden, the 2017 report from Söderberg & Partners on sustainable pension companies assesses the sustainability work of pension companies. SPP outperformed the crowd by obtaining green grades in all Söderberg categories, but others, like Alecta, Skandia and AMF didn’t fare so well (NordSIP).
Meanwhile in Switzerland, a new alliance of faith leaders and financial investors organised by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation aims to shift billions of dollars of faith-based investments into sustainable development. The event in Zug at which the alliance was launched also yielded the ‘Zug Guidelines to Faith-Consistent Investing’, which marks a shift to proactive engagement on sustainability from the previous norm of negative screening (NordSIP).
The Paradise Papers, the Guardian investigation into a 13.4mn file data leak from offshore service providers, has found a €8mn investment by Finnfund in an agricultural fund registered in the Cayman Islands. The revelation could prove controversial, as NGOs believe capital transfers via tax havens compound problems for developing countries, depriving them of tax revenues and reinforcing corruption (NordSIP). Meanwhile, Sampension makes tax transparency a central RI theme – the third largest pension company in Denmark has decided to focus on the tax transparency of multinationals as part of the expansion of its RI policies. Sampension, which itself has a presence in the Cayman Islands that it justifies in similar terms to Finnfund’s explanation, is screening its portfolio and redoubling its active management efforts on the basis of research and findings from screening agency Vigeo Eiris (NordSIP).
Heard on E-Street
COP 23, the 23rd annual “conference of the parties” under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to halt global warming kicked off in Bonn on November 6. COP 23 is chaired by Fiji, one of the small island nations most at risk from climate change, and will tackle carbon cuts, restitutions to small countries affected by climate change and the role of big fossil fuel companies (Guardian). Meanwhile, in a PR coup for president Bashar al-Assad, Syria is preparing to join the Paris Climate Accord, which would leave the U.S. as the only country in the world outside the agreement (BBC). Wageningen University & Research expert Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen asks what more can be done to ensure compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement given that there are not enough mechanisms in place to do so (WUR), while a study from University of Notre Dame researchers Tim Hubbard, Dane Christensen and Scott Graffin finds that CEOs who invest in CSR initiatives risk their jobs (in America) (NPR).
Quote of the Week
“When looking at companies that won’t be ‘Amazoned’, we look for the following characteristics – good vertical integration, controlling production distribution and customer relations, customer price transparency, high customer contact, and high value products with an associated strong brand. Companies with these characteristics tend to exhibit the best pricing power” – Kames Capital Sustainable Equity Fund co-manager Craig Bonthron indicates what Kames looks for in companies less likely to be ‘Amazoned’, or disrupted, in the new economy (Kames).
Question of the Week
For which recent green bond issue was Danske Bank hired to design a new framework for the emission of green bonds in the context of sustainable forestry?
Famous Last Words
“The United States of [the] North can become a new global superpower economically, morally and in sustainability. Let us take matters in our own hands and gain a strong voice that can make a real difference in [global affairs]. Everything else is just [peanuts]” – Citi Nordic Chairman and Managing Director Eirik Winter on why Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland should form a ‘United States of the North’ to earn clout for its successful sustainable and other social approaches on the global stage (Dagens Industri).
Interesting idea! Have a ‘holistic’ weekend,
Your NordSIP team
Image: (c) NosorogUA-shutterstock