The Week in Green

    November 23rd edition

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    The 3 Epochs of SRI and Danish ESG Advances

    This week, NordSIP reports on a workshop held at the recent TBLI Nordic conference discussing ESG capacity building across the “3 Epochs of Sustainable Investment”, where participants contrasted experience and lessons from different countries in Europe and beyond. It may surprise who belongs to which ‘epoch’ and why.

    At Stockholm-based fund Captor, Sanna Petersson calls for a more diversified Green Bond market. While she sees Sweden as a pioneer and dynamic player, she encourages companies outside of the real estate sector to open up to green financing.

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    Danish OMX Copenhagen 25 companies made considerable progress in global ESG rating agencies rankings over the past year, with an average C25 index listed company ranking among the top 19% of companies globally in creating sustainable value, way up from their paltry 70 percentile ranking last year. Jyske, Maersk, GN Store Nord and DSV were among those making the most impressive progress. Google will invest almost $700 million in a data centre in Fredericia, Denmark, in its desire to secure cheap renewable energy to manage costs and reduce its carbon footprint thanks to the country’s strength in green energy. The behemoth is also pursuing other green investment opportunities in the Nordics which, a new report published by the Nordic Council of Ministers finds, has key advantages likely to considerably boost investment by other large data corporations. Sydinvest, the Danish investment association specialising in high-yield bonds and emerging markets, launched Sydinvest Morningstar Global Markets Sustainability Leaders, a new fund aimed at investors wishing to invest in the world’s 100 most sustainable business as tracked by Morningstar indexes.

    Heard on E-Street

    Sweden’s AP4 pensions buffer fund said its 2016 decision not to invest in tobacco companies is boosting its financial results with the tobacco sector underperforming by 40%, (IPE), while AP2 is expecting the public sector to see a green bond rush over the next decade following its report that government-related institutions should be converting from fossil fuels to alternative energies (Chief Investment Officer).

    As You Sow, a non-profit promoting environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building and innovative legal strategies, has created a free fund screening tool in collaboration with gender equality data provider Equileap. The tool enables investors to evaluate the gender equality of their mutual funds and ETFs (U.S. News & World). BlackRock has expanded its sustainable investing platform with its new Ishares Global Green Bond ETF (BGRN) to help investors pursue a measurable environmental impact from their investments, offering exposure to hundreds of investment grade green bonds whose proceeds are applied towards projects with environmental benefits (Digital Journal). BNP Paribas Asset Management fund selection subsidiary FundQuest Advisor appointed Camille Ferron as its new sustainability research analyst. Ferron will focus on “extra-financial” fund analysis, such as external managers’ responsible investment processes (Expert Investor Europe).

    Famous Last Words

    “Green bonds have provided a transparency pretty much unheard of before they were introduced some 10 years ago. That’s also an eye-opener for the finance industry as a whole: that it is possible to get a lot more transparency out of investments than previously assumed. Looking back, it is very difficult to understand how the whole industry could be satisfied with the lack of general corporate purpose and transparency. Now Pandora’s box is open, the transparency is out there”Helena Lindahl, manager of the SEK 3.7 billion SPP Grön Oblgationsfond (Green Bond Fund), on why the transparency engendered in part by green bonds means there is no way back for the old ways of the financial industry (Investment Europe).

    Happy weekend,

    Your NordSIP team

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    Glenn W. Leaper, PhD
    Glenn W. Leaper, PhD
    Glenn W. Leaper, Associate Editor and Political Risk Analyst with Nordic Business Media AB, completed his Ph.D. in Political and Critical Theory from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2015. He is involved with a number of initiatives, including political research, communications consulting (speechwriting), journalism and writing his first post-doctoral book. Glenn has an international background spanning the UK, France, Austria, Spain, Belgium and his native Denmark. He holds an MA in English and a BA in International Relations.
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