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ESG research agencies Vigeo and EIRIS announce merger

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Vigeo and EIRIS, two established ESG research agencies from France and the United Kingdom, will merge to create a single European agency with a with a strong network of partners around the world.

Through the complementary nature of their expertise, their combined geographical presence and the coverage of their research, this new group, with its expanded portfolio of clients, will profit from a unique strategic position in the SRI market.

The mobilisation around climate change, marked by COP21 and the energy transition challenges, make it more necessary than ever to shift economies and investment practices towards more sustainable and responsible models. In this respect, Vigeo and EIRIS, with their combined expertise and services, are perfectly positioned to meet the changing needs of both investors and issuers.

The Sustainable and Responsible Investment market has been characterised in recent years by profound changes. Double digit growth in the European and US markets, the developing maturity of financial actors and the growing level of activity in Emerging Market regions are just some of the factors which have made this market fiercely competitive.

Companies and financial actors are now global in nature requiring access to diverse and detailed levels of information and analysis. This points to the need for an actor capable of developing a world class offer.

Independent SRI consultant John Fleetwood of 3D Investing said: “Both are leading providers of analysis tools in their respective markets – EIRIS in the UK and Vigeo in continental Europe.  A merger makes a lot of sense as together, the merged entity will be able to offer a broader range of services.”

This merger marks the start of a new strategic phrase for both Vigeo and EIRIS. It will result in the consolidation of existing market shares, notably in Europe and the United States. It will also lead to the establishment of a truly global research partnership that will provide the new group with a critical mass and strong prospects for future growth.

Vigeo has raised 6.3 million Euros in new capital. This will be used in part for the financing of the EIRIS acquisition, but also to ensure that the new entity will have the funds necessary for future Vigeo-EIRIS investments. The shareholding structure of the entity will remain unchanged and be based around three colleges (companies, investors and civil society).

The EIRIS Foundation will be incorporated into the civil society college and hold 20% of the capital in the new entity. The headquarters will remain in Paris with Peter Webster and Stephen Hine serving on the Executive Committee alongside the President of Vigeo, Nicole Notat.

Marking this historic occasion, Nicole Notat stated: “This merger makes sense. It allows both agencies to undertake a meaningful shift in their size at the moment when the RI market is developing, diversifying and growing in maturity.”

Peter Webster from EIRIS confirmed this, stating: “Both parties have proud histories and have achieved many things independently. But this merger creates many new opportunities for ourselves and our clients. By combining our strengths, Vigeo – EIRIS will contribute in a significant way to the development of responsible investment around the world.”

Both agencies are leaders in their markets with strong potential for further growth. The two agencies will build upon on their reputations and strong brand names, as well as on their skills that have produced innovative methodologies and technologies. With a team of 180 employees, the new entity will analyse up to 10,000 issuers.

The pooling of their resources and tools will further broaden the coverage of issuers rated on an annual basis to better serve the growing needs of their clients.

Based on methodologies that are synergetic and complementary, Vigeo – EIRIS will offer a wide product suite tailored to the needs of a range of global investors.

The reach of this new player, present from North America to Australia, Europe to South Korea, will allow it to play a leading role in promoting relations between issuers and investors going forward.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands

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Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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