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newsletter 02/2017

Our topics:

1. Customers

- oekom research supports VDK Spaarbank in implementing its sustainable investment strategy

2. oekom Services

- oekom Sustainability Bond Rating: new label confirms “approved” status

3. Market

- London Stock Exchange Group issues ESG reporting guidelines

4. Studies/Publications

- University of Cambridge: Eight Sustainability Trends Driving Business in 2017

5. Initiatives

- Open letter from CRIC, FNG, ÖGUT and ökofinanz-21 on the occasion of Germany’s G20 presidency

- CDP establishes the “Carbon Pricing Corridor” initiative

- Sustainable development council RNE endorses new work programme

- UN proclaims 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

- Principles for Positive Impact Finance

6. Books

- Gesa Gordon and Astrid Nelke, (ed.): CSR und Nachhaltige Innovation

7. Events

- Presentation of the oekom Corporate Responsibility Review 2017



1. Customers

oekom research supports VDK Spaarbank in implementing its sustainable investment strategy

VDK Spaarbank, one of Belgium’s leading regional savings banks, has commissioned oekom research to support it in its ethical investment activities. In the framework of its recently-issued ethical policies, VDK wishes to improve its strategies for avoiding controversial investments. oekom research will be providing its ESG-screening and portfolio-analysis services to VDK to help it manage the ESG risks of VDK’s own portfolio and another ethical investment fund which is open both to institutional and retail investors.

“Over a period of several months, we compared oekom research’s screening services with those of other suppliers and were greatly impressed by the level of detail and completeness of oekom’s results,” says VDK Spaarbank Managing Director Frank Vereecken. “We hope that this step will allow us to consolidate our sustainability positioning and that our fund will arouse ever-more interest as it becomes increasingly recognised among ethically-motivated investors in Belgium,” he continues.

The ethical investment fund “ShelteR Invest VDK Sustainable Flex Fonds” made its market debut on 28 December 2016. The launch was preceded by a preparatory phase lasting from October to December which also included intensive retrograde testing based on historical data from oekom research.

Contact: Frank Vereecken, Managing Director VDK Spaarbank
E-mail frank.vereecken@vdk.be 


2. oekom Services

oekom Sustainability Bond Rating: new label confirms “approved” status

oekom SBR Siegel

The oekom Sustainability Bond Rating is based on a detailed sustainability evaluation of the bond and its issuer, and supports investors in deciding whether a sustainability bond fulfils their expectations. The rating’s findings are measured on the oekom rating scale from A+ to D-. oekom research awards the “approved” status to bonds with a grade A or B rating. This status serves as a guidepost for investors wishing to invest in bonds with a very positive impact on sustainability. From now on, bonds with the “approved” status will be awarded a new oekom label/logo. The oekom Sustainability Bond Rating currently covers around 50 percent of the green bonds currently issued (source: CBI data from 2016).

 

Contact: Till Jung, Director Business Development, Tel.: +49 (0) 89 544184 62, E-Mail: clients@oekom-research.com  


3. Market

London Stock Exchange Group issues ESG reporting guidelines

The London Stock Exchange Group has issued guidelines via the Global Sustainable Investment Centre offering investors best-practice recommendations for ESG reporting. The guidelines respond to investors’ growing demands for a uniform approach towards ESG reporting – now an important aspect of the investment decision-making process. The guidelines are available both to issuers and investors; they have already been distributed to over 2,700 companies whose shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange Group’s markets in the UK and Italy, and which have a cumulative market capitalisation of over GBP 5 billion.

 

For further information, please visit: http://www.lseg.com/esg


4. Studies/Publications

University of Cambridge: Eight Sustainability Trends Driving Business in 2017

In a recent position paper, the Institute for Sustainability Leadership of the University of Cambridge, England, identified eight sustainability trends for 2017 which will also have an impact on the business activities of companies and investors. According to the paper, the following aspects will be this year’s dominant topics:

The impact of climate change goes global 

Rising social inequality and disengagement

Increasing pressure on natural resources leads to price hikes 

The rise of the city-level state

Tech-driven innovation disrupts societies and industries 

Governments look to the private sector to deliver on the Paris Agreement and SDGs

Businesses increasingly perceive sustainability as an opportunity 

Collaboration is king

For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/2mBV5oS 


5. Initiatives

Open letter from CRIC, FNG, ÖGUT and ökofinanz-21 on the occasion of Germany’s G20 presidency

On the occasion of the meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central-bank governors on 17 and 18 March 2017 in Baden-Baden, Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG) and the organisations CRIC, ÖGUT and ökofinanz-21 have addressed an open letter to the conference hosts, calling on them to establish an international strategy for creating a sustainable financial market consistent with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The open letter of FNG, CRIC, ÖGUT and ökofinanz-21 can be downloaded from the following link: http://bit.ly/2lLNJBf.

As one of the leading rating agencies in the sustainable investment sector, oekom research expressly welcomes the request and supports the demand for greater integration of sustainability aspects into the financial industry’s regulations and mechanisms.

oekom research’s full statement can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2mlJTQP


CDP establishes the “Carbon Pricing Corridor” initiative

The environmental initiative CDP mustered a large number of business leaders from the utilities sector and investors from the G20 group of nations to establish the “Carbon Pricing Corridor” initiative. Over the next two years, an expert committee will prepare realistic forecasts for the carbon pricing corridor needed to decarbonise power generation step-by-step by 2020, 2025 and 2030. Over the course of this year, the initiative will extend its scope beyond the energy sector to focus on other industries which also have a high carbon share.

If global warming is to be limited to below 2° Celsius, the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) by energy utilities in the G20 group of nations will need to have peaked by 2020 and cut to zero by 2050.

For further information, please visit http://bit.ly/2jDWgDs 


Sustainable development council RNE endorses new work programme

The Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (RNE) has endorsed its work programme for the period ending 2019. The Agenda 2030 with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the German Sustainability Strategy form the central framework for RNE’s charge.

RNE’s political focus over the next two-and-a-half years will include digitisation and its design possibilities for sustainable social development, the financing of sustainable development (green finance), the sustainable development of cities and communes, and increasing social justice. The council will also govern the implementation of the German Federal Government’s sustainability strategy.

For the complete work programme, please visit:

http://www.nachhaltigkeitsrat.de/der-rat/arbeitsprogramm/2017-2019 


UN proclaims 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

The United Nations have proclaimed 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. It aims to render visible for public- and private-sector decision makers the contribution that sustainable tourism makes towards development. It also intends to motivate all protagonists and stakeholders to further intensify their collaboration in making tourism a catalyst for positive and sustainable development. In the context of the SDGs, the International Year wants a political transformation in which business practices and consumer behaviour have the potential to achieve a more sustainable tourism industry which can contribute towards achieving the SDGs.

For further information, please visit: http://www.tourism4development2017.org/about/.


Principles for Positive Impact Finance

Almost 20 leading global banks and investors, with a combined USD 6.6 trillion assets under management, have initiated the Principles for Positive Impact Finance. It is a package of measures and criteria for sustainable-branded investments. The Principles offer lenders and investors an overarching global framework which applies across all lines of business, including loan transactions as well as asset management. The Positive Impact Principles offer guidelines for analysing, examining and publishing the respective ESG-relevant consequences of the financial products and services.

 For further information, please visit: http://bit.ly/2jvcFJf 


6. Books

Gesa Gordon and Astrid Nelke, (ed.): CSR und Nachhaltige Innovation

This book addresses corporate decision makers and business shapers who seek ways in which innovation, self-responsibility, fairness and cooperation can be combined by the company with inner conviction, attitude and meaningfulness. It provides examples of how important responsibility and sustainable innovation can be. The book opens with angles from the scientific world and from the sustainable development council RNE, providing a conceptual understanding of the term. Real-life examples from big industry, SMEs, as well as small businesses demonstrate how sustainable innovation can be turned into a competitive advantage.

For further information, please visit: http://bit.ly/2lMsEp1.


7. Events

Presentation of the oekom Corporate Responsibility Review 2017

The Corporate Responsibility Review 2017, which oekom research will be publishing for the ninth consecutive time at the end of March, will provide an updated look at the sustainability performance of industry worldwide. The study’s main themes include an extensive assessment of industry-specific ESG performance indicators and controversial business practices in terms of the principles of the UN Global Compact, as well as a glimpse at the transformation processes which have been accelerated over the past year by the SDGs and other initiatives: selected focal areas and industry examples highlight the challenges which business is facing as a result of change, and how business is tackling and overcoming them.

Starting April, oekom research will be presenting the central findings and conclusions of the oekom Corporate Responsibility Review at various events in Paris, London, New York, Vienna and Amsterdam. 

Details of the Corporate Responsibility Review 2017 and events will be posted shortly on our website: www.oekom-research.com


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