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newsletter 08/2016

Our topics:

1. In-house news

- oekom research accedes to US Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF)

2. oekom Services

- oekom research publishes Industry Focus on the Real Estate sector

- oekom research publishes updated Position Paper on microfinance

- oekom research receives Green Bond Award for Second Opinion Excellence

3. Responsibility Rating

- oekom research expands its Research Universe to over 6,200 issuers

4. Market

- Sustainable investment market development in the second quarter of 2016

5. Studies/Publications

- The Significance of ESG Ratings for Socially Responsible Investment Decisions”

6. Events

- Green Bonds Americas 2016

1. In-house news

oekom research accedes to US Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF)

oekom research has acceded to the US Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) in concurrence with the opening of a New York office and its US market debut. US SIF is the United States’ sustainable investment network, an association formed to represent the interests of participants of the sustainable financial market. Its members include investors, investment funds, management consultants and scientific institutions. With its membership, oekom research will support the Forum’s business development and boost its visibility and presence in the American market.

For a while now, oekom research has already been an active member of the network’s British offshoot, UK SIF, the French counterpart Forum pour l’Investissement Responsable (FIR), and in the pan-European network Eurosif.

For further information about the Forum’s activities, please visit http://www.ussif.org/.

2. oekom Services

oekom research publishes Industry Focus on the Real Estate sector

Industry Focus Real Estate

oekom research analyses a total of 231 organisations within the Real Estate sector whose main lines of business are investing in real estate property as well as renting and managing residential properties, storage facilities and office space. Other business activities, such as planning, constructing, or the commissioning the construction of real estate projects result in partial overlaps with the Construction industry.

The core sustainability issues in the Real Estate sector currently centre on climate protection, energy efficiency and use of renewable energies, amongst others: Real estate currently accounts for around 40 percent of industrialised nations’ energy consumption, the bulk of it occurring during the building use phase, i.e. for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting. In order to counter this trend, more and more companies are having their projects certified for compliance with e.g. green or sustainable building standards. Overall, the Real Estate sector is embroiled in very few controversies. Isolated breaches of exclusion criteria have arisen in regard to e.g. business malpractice and violations of labour rights.

The Real Estate sector’s best performers are currently The British Land Co PLC (GB) with the rating B-, Gecina SA (FR) and Unibail-Rodamco SE (FR), each with the rating C+ on a scale from A+ (best) to D-.

The oekom Industry Focus Real Estate provides an overview of the analysis’s key results within the industry, as well as a comparison of this sector with other industries. For a complimentary copy of the Industry Focus, please send an e-mail to: info@oekom-research.com. 

oekom research publishes updated Position Paper on microfinance

Position Paper Mikrofinanz

Microfinance is the term used to describe financial services for low-income segments of the population and for micro-entrepreneurs who would have substantial difficulties overcoming the barriers needed to access conventional financial services. Examples of microfinance services include micro savings deposits, microloans, microleasing, payment services and microinsurance. Modern microfinancing has become an integral part of development policy and is meanwhile globally accessible. It is not only offered in developing and emerging economies, but also in Europe, North America and Australia, where it is used for the economic furtherance of disadvantaged segments of the population and in the framework of enterprise creation and small business startups. Another socio-political goal of this type of financing is the advancement of women.

Microfinance is, however, also regarded and discussed critically, often as a consequence of recent developments. The efficacy of microfinance for fighting poverty, the risk of borrowers becoming overindebted, the microfinance institutions’ interest rate policies and business models, as well as the prevention of microfinance bubbles are just some of the controversial aspects in this regard.

oekom research principally takes a positive stance towards banks’ and insurance companies’ microfinance activities, but – just as for conventional financial products – also expects high standards of transparency, product quality, consulting and support processes, and consumer protection.

The updated oekom Position Paper Microfinance offers newly researched facts, background information and an opinion on the subject. For a complimentary copy of the Position Paper, please send us an e-mail to: info@oekom-research.com.

oekom research receives Green Bond Award for Second Opinion Excellence

Green Bond Award 2016

oekom research was distinguished as the “most impressive Second Opinion Provider” 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

3. Responsibility Rating

oekom research expands its Research Universe to over 6,200 issuers

oekom research has set up an extensive internal database of permissible group-company issuers and regional authorities. This database allows the oekom research rating of the respective parent company or country to be allocated to the group-company issuer or regional authority concerned. Consequently, our customers can now also access information on which associated bond issuers – such as financing / finance subsidiaries or regional authorities – fulfil their substantive minimum sustainability performance requirements.

Universe coverage is substantially increased, and now extends to over 6,200 issuers consisting of:

  • the oekom Corporate Universe, covering over 3,800 companies and 5,500 associated bond issuers and
  • the oekom Country Universe, covering 56 countries, the European Union and 700 associated, subordinate regional authorities.


For further information, please contact Philipp Rühle, Director Research Services, research.services@oekom-research.com.

4. Market

Sustainable investment market development in the second quarter of 2016

According to the Sustainable Business Institute (SBI), publisher of the market platform www.nachhaltiges-investment.org, a total of 410 sustainable mutual funds were accredited for distribution in Germany, Austria and / or Switzerland as at 30 June 2016. By 30 June 2016, these 410 funds were invested with about EUR 61 billion (all tranches). At the end of 2015 the SBI registered 400 funds that were invested with a total of about EUR 45 billion (retail tranches only).

Detailed information on developments in the Funds Universe of the SBI funds database can be found at http://bit.ly/2cixudh.

5. Studies/Publications

The Significance of ESG Ratings for Socially Responsible Investment Decisions”

In his study published in July 2016, author Michael Laermann takes a look at  the role of ESG ratings in socially responsible investment decisions. To this end, he evaluated current research literature as well as reports by government organisations, industry associations and NGOs, and also conducted interviews with a wide range of sector representatives.

The study’s core message is that institutional investors are becoming increasingly aware of how ESG factors can pose risks as well as opportunities. Accordingly,  ESG ratings are a market response to the enhanced requirements of socially responsible investors.

To download the study, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2c5eHx2.

6. Events

Green Bonds Americas 2016

UK trade journal Environmental Finance is to host its second “Green Bonds Americas” conference to discuss market trends and developments in an exclusive and closed circle of attendees.

The event, which will be held on 25 October 2016 at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York, will include specialist lectures and panel discussions on green bond issues such as: the development of the sustainability and social bond market; the risks of green bonds; and the opportunities inherent to financing “green infrastructure” to name but a few.

oekom research Head of Research, Kristina Rüter, will be participating in the panel discussion on the topic “Understanding & Managing Green Bond Risks”.

For further information, please click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2byz87k.

top news

Impact of the spin-off and listing on the stock exchange of Uniper Group on 12 September on the oekom Corporate Rating of E.ON


oekom research receives Green Bond Award for Second Opinion Excellence


Mexichem, Petroleos Mexicanos: analysis of water and soil shows high concentration of environmental polluants


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