Alice hears the evidence
`They told me you had been to her,
And mentioned me to him:
She gave me a good character,
But said I could not swim.
I gave her one, they gave him two,
You gave us three or more;
They all returned from him to you,
Though they were mine before.’
These verses from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland are usually thought to be meaningless (Alice didn’t believe there was an atom of meaning in it), but they might not be a bad representation of fund management’s stock lending programmes.
Rainforest in Panama
Did you have an egg or bacon for breakfast? Did you use shampoo or showergel containing palm oil this morning? If you did, the chances are a little bit of the rainforest was destroyed for your morning.
“We are eating the rainforest every day without knowing it,” says Andrew Mitchell, head of the Forest Footprint Disclosure project steering committee and executive director of the Global Canopy Programme. If you are a fund manager, your investments are also probably responsible for large swathes of tropical rainforest being bulldozed.
It’s time the asset management industry held boards to account for not listening to what fund managers are saying over corporate governance issues.
Financial institutions are in the dog house again. This time the sector is gaining attention for being the worst performer to manage its environmental, social and governance risks in 2008.
Reporting the carbon footprint of companies has become big business as fund managers become more green-savvy – but are they savvy enough?
Insight Investment has decided to move the debate forward with a new report asking whether all the data collection and analysis, attempts to come up with carbon labels and other well-intentioned initiatives are missing the point.
Companies in developed economies may be congratulating themselves about improved performance on corporate responsibility concerns but some emerging market businesses are beginning to match their peers in some areas, especially when it comes to environmental issues.
Bigger companies in emerging markets such as South Africa, Brazil and South Korea are leading the way in adopting environmental management policies and practices, says a report by the Sustainable Investment Research Analyst Network.
Some investors attending the NAPF conference did not take kindly yesterday to being told by Hector Sants, chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, that they had not done enough to prevent bank boards run amok and destroy value.
He suggested investors had failed to understand what they were buying and were too reliant on company reports, credit rating agencies and other “normal channels of information”. He wants investors to “challenge management to ensure their plans are credible”.
This was priceless for one questioner.