Top Stories

February 15, 2016

Responsible Investment

Automakers accused of “gross complacency” by investors

Carmakers are not being sufficiently transparent about their lobbying efforts in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, a situation that leading investors claim poses potential risks for shareholders. Last year, 19 investors, with more than £600 billion in assets under management, wrote to ten of the biggest manufacturers, asking for information on how car companies had been lobbying policymakers on emissions standards. But the investors say the responses received, collected in a new report, flag concerns about a “transparency problem”. ShareAction, the non-profit that represents the investors, said several carmakers – including Renault-Nissan, Ford and PSA Peugeot Citroën – had “ignored” their concerns by failing to respond to inquiries. Seb Beloe, head of research at sustainable investment group WHEB, said: “[It] raises real questions about the approach these companies are taking to this issue and potentially undermining their ability to maintain share in markets that are characterised by rapidly strengthening emission standards.” (Financial Times*)


Morgan Stanley Wealth Management introduces climate change toolkit

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s Investing with Impact Platform has introduced the Climate Change and Fossil Fuel Aware Investing Tool Kit. The toolkit is designed as a roadmap for Morgan Stanley’s financial advisors to use with individual and institutional clients to incorporate climate change and fossil fuel awareness into their portfolios. It includes a primer that explores the topic of climate change, with a focus on fossil fuels, and provides a framework for investors to understand the risks and opportunities involved in climate change and fossil fuel aware investing. “We believe there are a variety of approaches investors can take to transform the dialogue around fossil fuels and climate change into an actionable plan for investing,” said Lily Scott Trager, Morgan Stanley Director of Investing with Impact. “The framework… serves as a catalyst for action by providing a lens for portfolio construction that maintains a consistent, balanced focus on both impact and financial goals.” (3BL Media)

Circular Economy

Jaguar Land Rover drives circular value chain with Novelis

Jaguar Land Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will incorporate a sustainable aluminium alloy that contains up to 75 percent recycled content into the manufacturing of all of its vehicles, thanks to a successful collaborative project between the British carmaker and US aluminium can recycler Novelis. According to JLR sustainability manager Ian Ellison, incorporating aluminium will lower the vehicle body mass, improve fuel efficiency and, as a result, reduce the environmental footprint and running costs for customers. “The learning points go beyond the automotive industry and are available to other companies working to create closed loop value chains and circular economy business models. We offer our learning points as a case study for businesses, governments and investors and hope that it informs and inspires others to follow our journey,” he said. (edie)


UN reveals the human cost of the hottest year on record

A new analysis issued by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) finds that 98.6 million people were affected by disasters in 2015, and that climate, often aided by a strong El Niño phenomenon, was a factor in 92 percent of those events. The disasters amounted to more than double the 10-year annual average and affected 50.5 million people. The report confirmed that weather and climate-related disasters now dominate disaster trends linked to natural hazards. “The main message from this trends analysis is that reducing greenhouse gases and adapting to climate change is vital for countries seeking to reduce disaster risk now and in the future, said Robert Glasser, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of UNISDR. The analysis also found that the five countries hit by the highest number of disasters in 2015 are China, USA, India, Philippines and Indonesia. (UN News Centre)

Corporate Reputation

IAAF president Coe accuses Nestlé of hypocrisy

Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has accused Nestlé of hypocrisy following the company’s decision to withdraw sponsorship from the IAAF’s Kids’ Athletics programme. The company said it was concerned its reputation could be damaged by association, owing to doping and corruption scandals involving athletics’ world governing body, and that it would be immediately withdrawing its financial backing. Lord Coe pointed to Nestlé’s backing of the Tour de France during a time when cycling had notable doping problems. “Clearly it wasn’t a decision made about reputation because, since 2001, they’ve been the global partner to the Tour de France, and renewed at a moment when cycling was in its worst position around doping,” he said. In a statement, Coe added: “Angered and dismayed by today’s Kids’ Athletics announcement. We will not accept it. It’s the kids who will suffer.” (Guardian)


Image source: The Land Rover badge by Josh Hallett / CC BY-SA 2.0