December 2016

Navigating the Sustainable Investment Landscape. “A survey of over 100 investment professionals shows that institutional investors – including pensions, foundations, universities, and NGOs – are increasingly considering the material importance of social, environmental, and governance factors in constructing their portfolios… Despite the enthusiasm and more capital flowing, WRI found key gaps in the market that prevent even the most motivated asset owners from deploying capital sustainability.”

[COMMENTARY] This is an informative paper to read, particularly for institutional investors new to sustainable investing.
Navigating the Sustainable Investment Landscape, by Elizabeth Lewis, Ariel C. Pinchot and Giulia Christianson, December 2016, World Resources Institute, USA.

Fossil Fuel Divestments Now Represent $5.2 Trillion. “A network of local governments, pension funds, faith organizations, philanthropies and wealthy individuals representing $5.2 trillion in assets have committed to — and in some cases already started — divesting from fossil fuel companies, according to a report released on Monday.”

[COMMENTARY] The odds of President elect Donald Trump inspiring a major reversal in the fossil fuel divestment movement get slimmer everyday. In time he’ll come to understand that the world is moving past fossil fuels and that industry is entering old age.
Fossil Fuel Divestments Now Represent $5.2 Trillion, by Brian Kahn, December 12, 2016, Climate Central, USA.

The Just 100 — America’s Best Corporate Citizens In 2016. “Social impact is woven into the mission statements of nearly every major company on the planet. But which companies actually practice what they preach? FORBES has partnered with Just Capital, a nonprofit created by billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones II, to determine which ones are the best corporate citizens–the Just 100.

In all, some 1,000 companies were scored and ranked within their industries according to ten metrics: worker pay and benefits, worker treatment, supply chain impact, community well-being, domestic job creation, product attributes, customer treatment, leadership and ethics, environmental impact and investor alignment.”

[COMMENTARY] This is a great new approach in determining the value of corporate actions accross a spectrum of stakeholder concerns. It should be well accepted in the responsible investing community.
The Just 100: America’s Best Corporate Citizens In 2016, by Steve Schaefer, November 30, 2016, Forbes, USA.

2016 Global RepTrak® by Reputation Institute. “Reputation Institute′s Global RepTrak® 100 uncovers the world′s most reputable companies in innovation, governance, citizenship and more. Download the report or view the recorded presentation of the results to discover which companies are leading the way in the reputation economy this year.”

[COMMENTARY] Reputation Institute’s reports are always worthwhile for ethical investors to review.
2016 Global RepTrak® by Reputation Institute, December 2016, USA.

Investors in the Americas show soaring demand for green investments but barriers still remain: HSBC survey. “According to the research, investors in the Americas are seeking more green investment opportunities, with nearly three quarters (74%) planning to increase their climate related or low carbon exposure… the report revealed that the vast majority of investors in the Americas (82%) believe a lack of credible opportunities is the largest obstacle to making green investments. Furthermore, 79% of the same investors cited moderately or highly inadequate disclosures as a top barrier to making green investments. “

[COMMENTARY] With stock exchanges demanding more ESG disclosure from listed companies and investors demanding the same, the onus on companies to produce better and more detailed sustainability reports grows strongly.
Investors in the Americas show soaring demand for green investments but barriers still remain: HSBC survey, press release, December 8, 2016, HSBC, USA.

Sustainability reporting in stock exchanges ’comes of age’. “As many as 21 stock exchanges across the world could introduce sustainability reporting standards in the coming months. They would join the 17 exchanges that currently recommend listed companies to report on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues — going a step further by providing model guidance to participating companies.”

[COMMENTARY] I hope that US President-elect Donald Trump soon realizes that sustainability pays. The rest of the world realizes it. It’s great news that stock exchanges everywhere are creating sustainable reporting standards for their listed companies.
Sustainability reporting in stock exchanges ’comes of age, by Anya Khalamayzer, December 7, 2016,, USA.

EU Workplace Pensions Now Required to Incorporate ESG Issues. “The new directive will cover European workplace retirement plans, which is estimated to be a market of around 125,000 plans with €2.5 trillion investment. The new directive needs to be passed by the European Council (which is expected to take place in early 2017), following which there will be a 2-year period granted for Member States to transpose it into national law.”

[COMMENTARY] Assuming the European Council passes the directive, this will be a terrific step forward setting a precedent for pension plan and other investment regulatory authorities everywhere.
EU Workplace Pensions Now Required to Incorporate ESG Issues, by Latham & Watkins LLP, December 6, 2016,, UK.

2016 ET Carbon Rankings Report. “The 2016 ET Carbon Rankings report represents an in-depth analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions data gathered to produce the public ET Carbon Rankings. In addition to providing further context to the Rankings and their application for low-carbon and fossil-free indexes, it assesses the current state of Scope 3 emissions disclosure and the emissions reduction potential across the most carbon-intensive sectors.”

[COMMENTARY] This is an illuminating report on the carbon rankings of the world’s largest public companies.
2016 ET Carbon Rankings Report, December 2016, ET Carbon Rankings, UK.

Green bonds: New study shows extraordinary growth and signals potential in financing Europe′s climate and environment goals. “In 2012 USD 2.6 billion of green bonds were issued globally. By 2015 total issuance had multiplied to USD 41.8 billion. It rose to USD 74.3 billion by end of November 2016. European and Chinese issuers make up the largest share of the climate-aligned bonds market globally. In Europe, France and UK are the biggest issuers.”

[COMMENTARY] As the above figures suggest, there’s a huge latent market for green bonds. As most of us know, we’re still at the early stages of their issuance.
Green bonds: New study shows extraordinary growth and signals potential in financing Europe′s climate and environment goals, press release, December 2, 2016, European Commission, Belgium.

The league table of countries with the most ’caring’ investors. “Europeans are less concerned about environmental issues when it comes to selecting investments than Asians or Americans, according to a major study of attitudes in 28 countries.”

[COMMENTARY] The results of this survey are surprising! However, upon reflection, perhaps they’re understandable.
The league table of countries with the most ’caring’ investors, by Andrew Oxlade, December 2, 2016, CITY AM, UK.

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