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newsletter 12/2017

Our topics:

1. Customers

- Aramea Asset Management launches new sustainability fund

- oekom research produces second party opinion for Bayerische Landesbodenkreditanstalt

- Solactive oekom ESG Fossil Free Eurozone 50 Index shows clear outperformance 

2. Market/Initiatives

- The state of the European Sustainable Finance debate

- Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and Trócaire publish

- LBBW study: sustainable companies are more successful

- Study by Utopies & Datamaran: 'Make reporting strategic again!'

- MEDEF study of integrated reporting:

- 2017 annual report of the French Financial Supervisory Authority, AMF

3. Events

- Capital – Investment – Management (CIM) 2018

1. Customers

Aramea Asset Management launches new sustainability fund

On 30 November 2017, Aramea Asset Management launched the "Aramea Rendite Plus Nachhaltig" sustainability fund (R-Tranche: DE000A2DTL78; I-Tranche: DE000A2DTL86). This special fund invests in specific interest rate situations and primarily in subordinated bonds issued by banks, insurance firms and companies. When selecting bonds, Aramea's asset managers rely on oekom research's sustainability analysis and pursue a best-in-class approach, combined with strict exclusion criteria. For instance, the fund considers the criteria set out in the guidelines for ethical sustainable investment in the Protestant Church, the criteria set out in the Catholic Church's "Sustainable, ethical investment" guide, the rules of The Austrian Ecolabel and the principles of the United Nations Global Compact.

"We're delighted to have found a competent partner in the form of oekom research, with whom we can expand our successful 'Aramea Rendite Plus' fund to include sustainability," said Markus Barth, Member of the Aramea Asset Management Board. "We can now support with 'a clear conscience' our institutional church and Austrian customers, in particular, as well as a number of foundations," added Markus Barth.

Contact: Markus Barth, Member of the Aramea Asset Management AG Board, tel.: +49 40/866488103, e-mail: markus.barth@aramea-ag.de

oekom research produces second party opinion for Bayerische Landesbodenkreditanstalt

Bayerische Landesbodenkreditanstalt (BayernLabo) is BayernLB's development institute and, as one of the bodies charged with implementing government housing policy, is responsible for housing development in Bavaria. To support its social bond issue, BayernLabo commissioned oekom research to produce a second party opinion that was intended to assess the bond's sustainable added value. The sustainability rating and confirmation was compiled based on the criteria and indicators of oekom's social bond analysis framework. BayernLabo will use the proceeds of the social bond exclusively to (re)finance development loans from the Bavarian interest-rate subsidy programme, Bavarian modernisation programme and municipal housing development programme.

"We're delighted that oekom research's second party opinion confirms the sustainability credentials of our social bond," said Manfred Pongratz, Deputy Managing Director of BayernLabo. "This positive rating gives us and sustainability-oriented investors the certainty that BayernLabo can fulfil its legal mandate for sustainable housing development in the Free State of Bavaria."

Contact: Manfred Pongratz, Deputy Managing Director, Bayerische Landesbodenanstalt, tel.: +49 89/2171-28016, e-mail: Manfred.Pongratz@bayernlabo.de

Solactive oekom ESG Fossil Free Eurozone 50 Index shows clear outperformance 

In its first index report, the Solactive oekom ESG Fossil Free Eurozone 50 (SOESG50) sustainability index developed by oekom research and Solactive for the State of Berlin clearly outperforms the iShares EURO STOXX 50 UCITS ETF benchmark. The index, which was launched in April 2017, generates a higher annualised return with lower risk (volatility) and consequently has higher risk-adjusted returns than the reference index. Throughout the entire period under review, the performance index has a yield differential of around 15% (17%) compared to the benchmark.

The index also shows clear outperformance in the oekom Performance Score (OPS). The OPS converts the A+ to D- ESG rating scores into numbers, on a scale of zero to 100. In terms of weighted average, the index achieves a very good OPS of 58.23 points versus the benchmark, which scores 53.24 points.

The index also performs considerably better than the benchmark in the oekom Carbon Risk Rating (oCCR). This comprehensive analysis of companies' CO2-related performance is based on over 100 preferential industry-specific indicators and a CO2 risk classification at a sector and sub-sector level. Here, the SOESG50 achieves a weighted oCRR score of 50.12 points and is therefore significantly ahead of the benchmark, which achieves 46.00 points.

More information and current performance data at:

2. Market/Initiatives

The state of the European Sustainable Finance debate

Key actions are due to be taken next year for a number of EU initiatives and projects for a sustainable finance market. In January 2018, for instance, the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) will deliver its final report to the EU Commission, recommending comprehensive reforms. These range from increased transparency obligations for investors, through the clarification of ESG aspects as part of an asset manager's fiduciary duties, to the development of a taxonomy for sustainable assets and corresponding product standards and labels.

From the Commission's point of view, the biggest challenge for the financial market will be moving from the current short-term perspective of investment decisions to a long-term perspective. It appears to be determined to tackle the challenge of sustainable finance holistically: for example, initial measures for the "post-HLEG" era have already begun. A review of the scope of the mandate given to financial supervisory authorities will run until the end of January 2018, as will a consultation regarding fiduciary and investor duties.  New working groups are also being established, which are intended to implement the various HLEG proposals starting next year. Depending on their design, these measures could have a major impact on the goal of a sustainable financial sector: should it become clear, for instance, that ESG is an integral part of fiduciary and investor duties, this would have far-reaching consequences, not only for investors, but also for asset managers and reporting companies.
oekom research is closely following the developments and discussions and is already involved in several initiatives.

Contact: Sabine Pex, Senior Manager Public Affairs,
e-mail sabine.pex@oekom-research.com; tel. +49 89/54 41 84-745

Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and Trócaire publish

Global Catholic Climate MovementThe Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), an international network of more than+ 650 Catholic organisations, has issued a guide to climate-friendly ethical investments, together with Trócaire, the official development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland. The "Ethical investments in an era of climate change" toolkit is intended to help church leaders, finance officers and other decision-makers with their investment decisions. Its recommendations refer to the environmental and climate protection objectives mentioned by Pope Francis in his "Laudato Si" encyclical. Among other things, it names oekom research as an important partner for church organisations in relation to ESG research and the assessment of climate risks.

The publication is available to download here: http://catholicclimatemovement.global/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/GCCM_Tr%C3%B3caire-Catholic-Toolkit.pdf

LBBW study: sustainable companies are more successful

Operating sustainably not only improves a company's image among consumers. According to an analysis by Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW), consumer goods manufacturers and retailers, in particular, also achieve higher profits. However, there are practically no differences between companies operating sustainably and their conventional competitors in the so-called B2B sector, i.e. when firms sell their products and services to other firms.

The study examined the balance sheets of over 1,500 companies, whose business activities are regularly analysed by oekom research. The sustainability rating agency has been a cooperation partner of LBBW in the area of sustainability research for many years.

A summary of the study is available at: www.lbbw.de/nh

Study by Utopies & Datamaran: 'Make reporting strategic again!'

UtopiesThe French sustainability think tank, Utopies, and the Datamaran consultancy have gathered examples of best practice CSR reporting in a comprehensive study. The 'Make reporting strategic again!' report makes recommendations as to how this can be strategically aligned and improved. It aims to answer the question of which key elements companies should report. One of the aspects is the reporting of their own products and the transformation of their product portfolio to create a more positive impact. In this context, the study mentions the oekom Sustainable Solutions Assessment and the underlying methodology used by oekom research for assessing the impact of products and services.

The study is available to download in French here: http://www.utopies.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Etude-Utopies-Datamaran-Reporting-2017-1.pdf

MEDEF study of integrated reporting:

MEDEFIn its "reporting intégré - retours d´expérience" report, the French employer’s association, MEDEF (Movement of the Enterprises of France), presents the conclusions of its working group on integrated reporting. It is the result of a consultation with many economists, stakeholders and experts lasting over one year. The integrated reporting approach is intended to promote the integration of sustainability-related and financial elements. It invites companies to explain their governance and strategy, as well as their business model, and to identify their tangible and intangible assets. They are also encouraged to describe the major risks to which they are exposed to and to develop prevention and mitigation strategies.

Also oekom research provided feedback to the report. According to this, the principle of integrated reporting can be seen as an opportunity to promote holistic thinking within a company, thereby embedding sustainability within the management team and the corporate strategy.

The full report is available to download in French here: http://www.medef.com/uploads/media/node/0001/13/cc4593f77a6238431bce17bad5e7c0fd316a8520.pdf

2017 annual report of the French Financial Supervisory Authority, AMF

MEDEFThe 2017 annual report of the French Financial Supervisory Authority, AMF (Autorité des marchés financiers), on corporate governance, executive remuneration, internal control systems and risk management in listed companies examines current developments in these areas at a national and international level. Further aspects such as the representation of women in management positions, business relationships, board neutrality and the handling of conflicts of interests are also discussed. Based on its observations in this regard, the AMF derives appropriate recommendations for companies and calls on professional associations to change their code of conduct.

A summary of the report in English is available here:

3. Events

Capital – Investment – Management (CIM) 2018

Capital – Investment – Management (CIM) 2018
The CIM Seminar (Capital – Investment – Management) is once again taking place in Cologne from 14th to 15th March 2018. The event explores the latest trends and developments in the capital market and is primarily aimed at representatives of institutional investors, banks, insurance companies, pension funds and pension schemes.

Speakers at the event include Lorenz Stör, Responsible Investment Advisor at oekom research. More information is available at:

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