Welcome to the EIRIS responsible investment blog. Get our perspectives on the latest trends and developments in responsible investment and corporate social responsibility.
The recent case of Samarco’s dam that collapsed in Brazil shows that waste management is key to the mining sector in addressing significant risks. The collapse resulted in the joint owners, Vale and BHP Billiton, dealing in the aftermath with fatalities and serious injury, health risks due to water contamination, community displacement and environmental pollution, as well as serious impacts on local biodiversity. Read more >
Since the 2008 global financial crisis banks have been the subject of intense critical scrutiny, and 2015 has thus far been no different.
During the year regulators across the global financial jurisdictions have continued to hit banks with a series of eye-watering fines and financial penalties that have consistently reached beyond the billion dollar mark, covering issues including the misselling of payment protection products, trader manipulation of global currency and interest rate markets, and the breaching of anti-money laundering regulations. The likelihood is that this critical scrutiny will continue into 2016 and beyond.
It is the view of EIRIS that alongside this regulatory activity, investors will increasingly be looking to assess how effectively financing institutions are managing their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks, due to the potential impact this could have on their credit-worthiness. Consequently, EIRIS has developed a suite of criteria to enable investors to compare financial institutions on sector-specific ESG performance. Read more >
Compulsory superannuation in Australia means every working Australian is an investor. Australia was reported to be the fourth largest pension market in the world in 2014 with assets growing to 113% of our GDP during the year, as per the Towers Watson Global Pension Assets study. The sheer size of these investments makes us, investors, incredibly powerful. And more than ever it matters that we think about risk in a holistic way, involving both our heart and mind and making informed decisions about our investments. Read more >
The Volkswagen (VW) emissions scandal has generated an enormous amount of coverage in both the regular and financial press. This is unsurprising given the sheer magnitude of the issue with up to 11 million vehicles affected, recall costs estimated anywhere between USD 6.5bn and USD 10bn, potential regulatory fines of USD 18bn, and both the taking of class actions and the possibility of criminal proceedings against the company in the United States. The news that the company’s CEO, Martin Winterkorn, has stepped down in the last few days confirms the scale of the issue for VW and one senses there is likely to be much more fallout to come. Read more >
Latest data on SRI market developments in the German-speaking countries of Switzerland, Austria and Germany provided by the German sustainable investment forum (Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen – FNG) shows evidence of continuous increases in SRI volumes for the sixth year in a row. With a total market volume of EUR 197.5 bln and asset overlays for simple exclusions of cluster munitions and anti-personnel-mines affecting approximately EUR 2.5 trillion, the integration of sustainability imperatives into investment decisions stands on fertile ground for future growth.
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Social risks in consumer finance and the challenges posed by cash-lending companies were the issues in focus at the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) panel in Melbourne, Australia on the 9th of July. The panel was attended by three analysts from CAER, an EIRIS global partner.
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EIRIS Foundation Launches Database on Investment in Crimea and Palestine
- Today, building on its 30-year history of providing free and objective information on ethical finance and corporate activity to the public, the EIRIS Foundation announced the release of a new online database of companies (BusinessInOccupiedLands.org) in Crimea and Palestine. For the first time, businesses, civil society, media and the investor community will have access to objective and comprehensive information about corporate operations in these two occupied territories.
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“Every company, investor and bank that screens new and existing investments for climate risk is simply being pragmatic”
Jim Yong Kim President of the World Bank in a speech at Davos
The last few weeks have seen a number of investors showing the pragmatism advocated by Jim Yong Kim by looking to address the climate change risks from companies in their portfolios, specifically around thermal coal and tar sands. Read more >
Stewardship, decarbonisation and whether Japan can create a whole new approach to responsible investment seemed to dominate RI Asia this year in Tokyo.
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On a number of occasions recently I’ve been invited to speak about shareholder engagement and advocacy. These are at the heart of EIRIS Conflict Risk Network’s work, which focuses on research and engagement on conflict-affected regions. Since 2012, EIRIS Conflict Risk Network has been facilitating a coordinated approach to investment in Burma/Myanmar designed to raise the standards for doing business in the country. The Network’s provision of information and analysis encourages investment in companies that contribute to peace, to development of a sustainable economy and to securing long-term reforms in Burma/Myanmar. Here I share reflections on five key steps EIRIS Conflict Risk Network has taken to coordinate and conduct this engagement.
EIRIS Conflict Risk Network is about to release the second instalment of Investment Watch: Burma/Myanmar, launched earlier this year, to investor subscribers. This service identifies public companies with investments in Burma/Myanmar; provides in-depth profiles and assessments of publicly listed companies investing in the country; and provides analysis of corporate disclosures under the US Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements. These are the steps we’ve taken to get this far: Read more >