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newsletter 09/2016

Our topics:

1. In-house news

- oekom research receives Green Bond Award for Second Opinion Excellence

- Deep Data Delivery Standard: oekom research recognised with Gold Standard

- Sabine Pex reinforces oekom research Sales team

- SRI-Connect´s IRRI 2016 Responsible Investment Survey: oekom research is competing

2. Customers

- oekom research supports Schwyzer Kantonalbank with new ethical funds

- Dresden-Meißen Diocese uses oekom research sustainability ratings

3. oekom Services

- GES addresses climate change and water issues through engagement themes with oekom research data

4. Market

- Canadian Green Bond market reaches $2.9bn volume

5. Studies/Publications

- The State of CSR Reporting and Communications 2016

6. Initiatives

- G20 leaders welcome “Green Finance” in G20 Summit Communiqué

- SDG Target 12.3 on reducing food waste: 2016 Progress Report

7. Books

- Thomas Croft and Annie Malhotra: The Responsible Investor Handbook – Mobilizing worker’s capital for a sustainable world.

1. In-house news

oekom research receives Green Bond Award for Second Opinion Excellence

SRI Award

oekom research was distinguished as the “most impressive Second Opinion Provider” (SPO) at this year’s SRI / Green Bond Awards. The competition initiated by international trade magazine GlobalCapital recognises those market players – from green bond issuers and investors to book runners and second opinion providers – who further the market and set its standards through excellent and innovative projects, high quality and professional expertise. Banks, investors and  bond issuers were asked for their views on this in a major survey that was conducted from June to August.

In the framework of its Sustainability Bond Services, oekom research compiles sophisticated, high quality second party opinions (SPOs) on green bond issues for which it has already received several awards in the past. As recently as in May 2016, for example, winners in half the bond-specific categories of the Environmental Finance Green Bond Awards had been confirmed for their sustainable qualities in oekom research SPOs. A Südwind Institut study of 32 SPOs published in June 2016 expressly declared oekom research’s SPOs as being of such high quality and thoroughness as to allow them to serve as an industry benchmark.

oekom research Director International Business Development, Dr. Julia Haake, is delighted about the latest independent confirmation: “Our green bond assessments – be they in the framework of our Sustainable Bond Rating or by means of detailed SPOs – are always based on oekom research’s rigorous understanding of sustainability. It is therefore all-the-more gratifying for us that this concept has been confirmed by different institutions and experts. This motivates us all the more to systematically continue pursuing our goal of bringing more transparency and quality to this still largely unregulated market.”

With its sophisticated and high quality services, oekom research stands out as an innovation driver and industry leader for rating green bonds. They make a decisive contribution towards green bonds remaining an effective instrument for achieving sustainable trends and goals. Up to now, oekom research’s dedicated team of analysts and experts has prepared SPOs on 15 green bond projects, with a further three projects currently being worked on.

Besides offering second party opinions, oekom research has also developed the Sustainability Bond Rating for a uniform and comparative evaluation of outstanding green and social bonds on the market to provide investors with a reliable orientation and help on deciding on their choice of suitable investments. The oekom Sustainability Bond Rating Universe is continually growing and currently encompasses around 240 green bonds with a volume of almost USD 75 billion; according to the Environmental Finance Green Bond Database, this corresponds to around a 50 percent coverage of the global market at the end of August 2016. The database includes all bonds issued under the Green Bond Principles. 

For further information, please click on the link http://bit.ly/2ccj773.

Deep Data Delivery Standard: oekom research recognised with Gold Standard

With the launch of the independent quality initiative „Deep Data Delivery Standard“ and its accompanying award recognitions, oekom research has received the „Gold Standard“. The international sustainability ratings pioneer is now attested to comply to all aspects of the strict and concrete catalogue of requirements for the generation and provision of ESG information defined by the Deep Data Delivery Standard.

The standard was initiated by a scientific board lead by Prof. Andreas Hoepner, ICMA Centre of Henley Busines School, together with numerous investors and asset managers and introduced to the public in summer 2016. It is to be understood as a self-commitment of research and analyst firms to comply to clearly defined quality requirements that include a total of ten criteria, such as independence, the management of conflicts of interest, the rating process, the actuality of rating results, the consistency as well as transparency of the rating methodology and more. Through this, investors and the financial market are meant to gain clarity and orientation in selecting service providers in the field of sustainability rating. 

The compliance with the standard is audited by an independent board that judges on the basis of the information and data provided by the research firms.

Robert Haßler, CEO oekom research, welcomes the initiative: „The Deep Data Delivery Standard will contribute to increasing the quality and transparency of ESG data and information. It will thereby also raise the market acceptance and explanatory power of sustainability ratings.“

More information at svl-deepdata.appspot.com.

Sabine Pex reinforces oekom research Sales team

Sabine Pex

oekom research welcomes Sabine Pex who joined the company’s Client Relations Team in Munich on 1 October. The qualified business economist and environmental manager has almost 20 years’ experience in the finance industry. During that time she has occupied various positions including contact person for sustainable investments at Hypovereinsbank. The Client Relations Team which looks after institutional investors and companies has offices in Munich, Paris, London and New York. Since 2007, Sabine Pex has been a member of the Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlage (FNG) Board of Directors where she was responsible for the development of the FNG seal for sustainable mutual funds. She is delighted that she can now use her expertise and understanding of SRI products and strategies to support oekom research’s customers.

Sabine Pex can be contacted at sabine.pex@oekom-research.com; Tel: +49 (0)89 54 41 84-64.



SRI-Connect´s IRRI 2016 Responsible Investment Survey: oekom research is competing

oekom research is taking part in this year´s SRI-Connect international IRRI (Independent Research in Responsible Investment) survey, the aim of which is to evaluate sustainability research and analysis. Asset and portfolio managers, equity traders and listed companies, as well as SRI analysts, can all vote on who they think stands out as having provided particularly high-quality services and innovations in this field over the past year.

Numerous award recognitions for our work and the positive feedback from the market encourage us to urge our clients and business and cooperation partners to take part in the survey and to vote for oekom research: do please rate us, our work and our analysts!

The IRRI 2016 survey rewards examples of best practice in independent research and the analysis of sustainable investments. It highlights the qualities that asset managers value in their ESG research providers, identifies trends, opinions and developments in the industry and reveals what service providers, for their part, consider to be important in asset managers and companies. The survey is being conducted by the market research institute Extel on behalf of SRI-Connect, the global network for independent sustainability research.

The survey will run from November 1
st until 30th. Further information can be found at: http://bit.ly/2eqOEF4.

2. Customers

oekom research supports Schwyzer Kantonalbank with new ethical funds

Schwyzer Kantonalbank (SZKB) has turned to oekom research’s analyses for the launch of its new “Income” and “Balanced” ethical funds. The direct investments contained in the funds are selected using conventional as well as social and environmental criteria. oekom research provides the assessments and analyses used to appraise the sustainability aspects. These take into account a corporate universe encompassing over 6,200 issuers including businesses, associated bond issuers, sovereign states and regional authorities.

For the two ethical funds which will be open for subscription from 17 October 2016, SZKB is only investing in securities which oekom research has awarded an especially good rating based on socio-environmental criteria. Countries and businesses which fail to fulfil oekom research’s ethical standards are excluded. This includes businesses which manufacture tobacco products or exploit child labour. “Our new ethical funds allow investors to reconcile their financial and ethical demands and expectations at the highest possible level,” says SZKB Board Member and Director Private Banking, Nicole A. Reinhard. “oekom research’s rigorous, high-quality sustainability research guarantees this. The rating agency’s analyses give us a sound basis to actively embed sustainability into our financial products,” she continues.

Further information on SZKB’s ethical funds can be found at http://bit.ly/2cKTyug and www.szkb.ch.

Dresden-Meißen Diocese uses oekom research sustainability ratings

oekom research and the Dresden-Meißen Diocese have kicked off development of a tailor-made sustainable investment strategy which is based on the assessment findings of the rating agency’s research universe. The Diocese’s central values of ethics and sustainability serve as filters for excluding specific investments, thereby barring companies embroiled in controversial business fields and practices, and sovereign issuers with poor environmental and social track records. oekom research will review the Diocese’s investment portfolio regularly and further develop it on this basis.

“As a church investor, it is vital to avoid contradictions between the church’s teachings and its investment actions. oekom research’s sustainability ratings help us identify and control the ethical, social and environmental consequences of our financial decisions. This value-based approach lets us invest the church’s funds with a holistic focus on serving humanity,” says Diocese Director Finance, baron Kyrill Freiherr von Twickel, about the cooperation with oekom research.

Contact: Kyrill Freiherr von Twickel, Director Finance, Dresden-Meißen Diocese; Tel : +49 (0) 351 33 64 600; Email info@bistum-dresden-meissen.de.

3. oekom Services

GES addresses climate change and water issues through engagement themes with oekom research data

GES has launched new engagement themes focusing specifically on companies’ management of water usage and carbon risk. The themes, based on GES and oekom research data, enable investors to address their portfolio-based exposure to climate change and water risks. It follows GES’ structured and goal-oriented engagement approach and will run for two-years. Investors working on the new thematic engagements include a number of Nordic pension funds and European asset owners and managers. 

The GES Carbon Risk Engagement focuses on carbon-intensive companies with the aim to reduce current and future tons of CO2 emitted. It also contributes to a reduced demand for fossil fuel extraction and leverages on the qualitative and quantitative Carbon Risk data provided by oekom research. The GES Water Engagement focuses on companies with notable water needs, which have exposure to countries in earlier stages of development that are facing water-related challenges. It also includes oekom research´s respective water performance data.

Hanna Roberts, CEO of GES, says “Many of our clients are looking for concrete and structured ways to address climate change and water risks through focused engagement dialogue. Our engagement enables them to do this without having to exclude entire sectors. oekom research environmental data in particular make a very solid and consistent basis for our new engagement themes and this collaboration brings together the best of our two organisations”.

Robert Haßler, CEO oekom research adds: “GES and oekom research have had a long-standing strategic partnership since 2012 and collaborate on a number of client assignments and services. We are very much looking forward to add value to and be part of the new GES engagement themes. Our data allow investors a both quantitative and qualitative assessment of a company´s climate or water performance and therefore serve as the foundation for their engagement decisions.”

More information on www.ges-invest.com

Contact: Till Jung, Head of Business Development oekom research, Tel. +49 89 544184-62, Email till.jung@oekom-research.com

4. Market

Canadian Green Bond market reaches $2.9bn volume

2016 marks the 5th edition of the Climate Bonds Initiative’s State of the Market report, as well as the 5th edition of the Bonds and Climate Change Canada Report, produced in collaboration with The Smart Prosperity Institute (formerly Sustainable Prosperity). The report shows that Canada’s green bond market reached $2.9bn in 2016. This is steady, but not remarkable, growth. And given earlier provincial and federal commitments, it leaves a lot of potential to be fulfilled in 2016-2017.

Globally, the green bonds market has grown from a small US$2bn niche market to a US$ 120bn market and a key talking point at the G20. It is estimated that there is a universe of over US$ 694bn of bonds financing clean projects of which US$ 118bn are labelled as green and the remaining US$ 576bn are not labelled.

To learn more about green bonds in Canada please see the full report at 

5. Studies/Publications

The State of CSR Reporting and Communications 2016

State of CSR Reporting and Communications 2016

In July and August of 2016, the Ethical Corporation conducted a study called “The State of CSR Reporting and Communications 2016” which polled nearly 950 professionals for input from around the globe. The study’s objective was to identify CSR departments’ most pressing issues with respect to reporting and communication. In doing so, it identified highlights and trends for the coming twelve months, along with the experts’ key topics of concern and feedback. This year, the survey’s most important findings include:  

  • Almost 40 percent of the polled companies perceive sustainability as one of the greatest opportunities for their own organisation in the current and coming year.
  • 51 percent of the respondents regard an intensification of the dialogue with their key stakeholder groups as a primary task in the future.
  • By contrast, dealing with and furthering next-generation groups (so-called millennials) was for many one of the least important topics for the next twelve months.
  • For 60 percent of the respondees, the reporting process is too time consuming. Among CSR department staff, the quota is slightly lower at 57 percent.
  • Only 25 percent said that their CFOs are truly convinced of the necessity of a CSR commitment.

These and other results will be presented and discussed at the 10th Annual CR Reporting and Communications Summit in London on 20 and 21 October. The summit is regarded as one of Europe’s most important CSR reporting and communication events.

The report can be downloaded at: http://1.ethicalcorp.com/LP=14724.

6. Initiatives

G20 leaders welcome “Green Finance” in G20 Summit Communiqué

G20 leaders who met in China in early September stressed the importance of the green financial market in their Summit Communiqué. The Communiqué clearly welcomes the options developed by the G20 Green Finance Study Group (GFSG) for which the United Nations will provide the secretariat infrastructure. It is the first time that G20 leaders have made such clear reference to the importance of green finance. Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, said: “The G20 is a leader on bringing together the goals of economic performance and environmental preservation [...]. Green finance is vital to a green future, and we at UN Environment are proud to build on our work in this area in supporting the G20.”

Further information is available at http://bit.ly/2d6G3YW.

SDG Target 12.3 on reducing food waste: 2016 Progress Report

Almost a year after endorsement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), national states and industry are being urged to intensify their efforts to embrace the issue of food waste under Target 12.3 and halve this waste by 2030. A new publication issued on the Champions 12.3 Coalition’s behalf is now appealing to national governments as well as the private sector to set processes in motion to cut food waste. This should be achieved through ambitious goals, the intensified use of data collection systems, and motivating individuals to take action.

The report analyses the steps already taken by several countries and leading businesses to cut the almost USD 940 billion in economic losses caused each year by food waste. Food waste is responsible for around eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. To counter this, the Champions 12.3 Coalition highlights several instances of larger companies’ measures which, as best practices, are of an exemplary nature.

The report also praises global initiatives such as the Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Standard, as well as government initiatives to cut waste in France and Italy.

Further information is available at http://bit.ly/2cG2dvO.

7. Books

Thomas Croft and Annie Malhotra: The Responsible Investor Handbook – Mobilizing worker’s capital for a sustainable world.

The Responsible Investor Handbook

“The Responsible Investor Handbook” which was commissioned by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and forward-looking investors is a reference work which was devised for practical use and provides best practice examples for responsible investment. It helps readers: 

  • understand the role of workers and their work capacity in setting up and extending infrastructures and essential facilities
  • derive and develop responsible investment strategies
  • identify and select the best suited service providers concerned
  • reconcile parties with conflicting interests
  • avoid a short-term mindset in corporate management.

The handbook is the first work to bring together workers’ long-term investment priorities and the interests of the capital controllers and finance industry that manage their assets. It is therefore indispensable reading for those trustees and capital stewards wanting to positively influence and support their investment strategies. Institutional investors wishing to reconcile their strategies with workers’ and citizens’ interests are equally addressed by the authors.

Further information can be found at http://bit.ly/2cCfV6P.

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