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1 October 2015

Making Progress

Over the past six months, as capital markets have been buffeted, we continue to make progress; building new innovative funds for clients, growing our established funds and engaging strategically to drive change.

Human Capital Fund

We have been pleased to develop an innovative Human Capital Fund for one of our French based clients. The fund utilises our Strategically Aware Investment methodology with a specific focus on companies demonstrating best practice human capital management. We have been engaging with stakeholders around human capital issues, including around the future of work.

We plan to release a discussion paper in Q4 on this topic.

Alternative to Divestment

Our Carbon Zero strategy, which was launched in July 2015 with capital from our French cooperative bank partner CMNE, is providing clients with an alternative to divestment. The fund mitigates long term risk by pairing traditional high impact (but best-in-class) extractives, manufacturing, industrial and utility plays with low impact, future-proof innovators and solution providers.

Climate Change Momentum Builds

On the evening of September 7th 2015, some 25 pension funds, endowments, and policy-makers from Europe, Africa, Australia and the United States gathered at the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) in London for the 8th IPCM dinner in the global Climate Investor series.

The discussion, opened by Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change Chair Donald McDonald, is part of global, 12 month series of rolling discussions held in Davos, Tokyo, Oslo, Stockholm that started in September 2014 which has gathered more than 130 investors and policy-makers in a global conversation ahead of UNFCCC CoP21. Our first report crystallises the collective insights of attendees. One clear view is that asset owners have to change from being “sleeping partners” to actual owners and wise investors that assert their actual rights when we hold a stock. Investment needs a new generation of leaders who understand the change and opportunity that climate change is bringing. The idea that the true owners of capital are the fiduciaries needs to come to the fore.

IPCM has also been happy to support a letter from the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change to company CEOs focused on trade association lobbying against climate and energy policy reforms.

Norwegian Ministry of Finance

After successfully being awarded a four year contract within the field of responsible investments in May, we have now met with the Ministry to understand their future needs.

Strategic Engagement

IPCM uses its regular column in the Huffington Post to strategically engage around a series of issues:

We argue Volkswagen's U.S emission standards scandal will test the company's previously successful co-determination model at a time when it is struggling to manage a well-publicised power struggle. The scandal also raises significant questions about the practices of other car makers. As investigations continue, our expectation is that the demand for tighter regulations will intensify.

China's recent market meltdown has raised significant questions about the country's transition to a consumer-led economy. Receiving relatively little attention has been China's plans to pursue its grand infrastructure vision – the Silk Road Economic Belt. The need to create new markets is a recognition by China's communist elite that an economic slowdown that results in rising unemployment is not an option.  

We investigate the toxic underbelly of rare earths mining and propose a Rare Earths Management Code based on the success of the International Cyanide Management Code. We are pleased that the PRI announced at its recent annual conference that this would be one of the areas that they will focus engagement on in 2016 and we are looking forward to working closely with the PRI Secretariat on this issue.  

We argue that McDonald’s future lies with embracing innovation. The company has recently demonstrated strong management of environmental issues but needs to focus on nutrition and labour issues:

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