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The principles of responsible investment – a short series. Principle four – promotion.



The fourth principle states that signatories will “promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.”

At time of publishing the following UK asset owners are UNPRI signatories:

Alliance Trust PLC, BBC Pension Trust Limited, BP Pension Fund, BT Pension Scheme, CDC Group plc, Environment Agency Pension Fund, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, London Borough of Haringey, Pensions Committee, London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA), Lothian Pension Fund, Marks & Spencer Pension Scheme, Merseyside Pension Fund, National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), North East Scotland Pension Fund, Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee, Old Mutual plc, Pension Protection Fund, Polden Puckham Charitable Foundation, Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited, Royal Mail Pension Plan, Shell Contributory Pension Fund, Strathclyde Pension Fund, The Church of England National Investing Bodies, The LankellyChase Foundation, The Pensions Trust, UNISON Staff Pension Scheme, Universities Superannuation Scheme – USS, West Midlands Pension Fund.

The following UK asset managers are UNPRI signatories

3i Group plc ,Aberdeen Asset Management, Actis, Alquity Investment Management Limited, APAX PARTNERS LLP, Aureos Capital Ltd, Auriel Capital Management, Aviva Investors, Baillie Gifford, Baird Capital Partners Europe Limited, BC Partners, Bedlam Asset Management plc, Berkeley Partners LLP, Bridges Ventures, Cantillon Capital Management, CapVest Partners LLP, Cazenove Capital Management, CCLA, Charlemagne Capital, Cinven, Climate Change Capital, Craigmore Sustainables LLP, Culross Global Management, Doughty Hanson & Co, Earth Capital Partners LLP, Epworth Investment Management, Equitix, F&C Asset Management, FourWinds Capital Management, Generation Investment Management LLP, Genesis Asset Managers, GFI Consultants Ltd, Governance for Owners, Growth Capital Partners LLP, Henderson Global Investors, Hermes Fund Managers Limited, Hermes GPE, HEXAM CAPITAL PARTNERS LLP, HgCapital LLP, Highclere International Investors LLP, HSBC Global Asset Management, Impax Asset Management, InfraRed Capital Partners Limited, Insight Investment, Investindustrial Advisors Limited, J O Hambro Capital Management Group, Jupiter Asset Management, Kames Capital, LaSalle Investment Management, Legal & General Investment Management Limited, Lloyd George Management, Longview Partners, Man Group plc, Martin Currie Investment Management, Montanaro, MSS Capital, Munros Capital Management LLP, Newton Investment Management, Orion Capital Managers LLP, Pampa Capital Management LLP, Panoramic Growth Equity, Pantheon Ventures, Par Equity LLP, Parish Capital Advisors LLP, PRUPIM, Rathbone Brothers Plc, Rexiter Capital Management Limited, Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP, Royal London Asset Management, S C Davies & Company Ltd, Sarasin & Partners LLP, Schroders, Scottish Widows Investment Partners, Silk Invest Ltd., Silverfleet Capital Partners LLP, Stafford Timberland Limited, Standard Life Investments, Temporis Capital LLP, Terra Firma Capital Partners, The Co-operative Asset Management, The Environmental Investment Partnership LLP, Threadneedle Asset Management Ltd, Triton Advisers Limited, Truestone Impact Investment Management, WHEB Group

If they’re not on the list then they’re not signatories and you should probably ask why. If they are on the list, take a closer look at how seriously they report ESG issues

They should certainly be doing some or all of the following:

  1. Including Principles-related requirements in requests for proposals (RFPs)
  2. Aligning investment mandates, monitoring procedures, performance indicators and incentive structures accordingly (for example, ensure investment management processes reflect long-term time horizons when appropriate)
  3. Communicating ESG expectations to investment service providers
  4. Revisiting relationships with service providers that fail to meet ESG expectations
  5. Supporting the development of tools for benchmarking ESG integration
  6. Supporting regulatory or policy developments that enable implementation of the Principles

While 1 and 3-6 are relatively straightforward and process-based, number 2 is perhaps the most interesting and challenging for asset managers and owners. It makes the alignment of long-term ESG implications core to everything in an investment – its mandate (the purpose and limits of the fund), monitoring, performance indicators and incentives.

Many signatories would struggle to say that all of their assets are structured along those lines, but it is gratifying that so many have signed up to UNPRI regardless.

While this principle concerns intra-industry promotion, we would like to see how strictly these principles are adhered to and, as we argued yesterday, for even greater promotion of the principles themselves and their adherents.

Tomorrow we sail for the happy seas of collaborations or principle five.

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Simon Leadbetter is the founder and publisher of Blue & Green Tomorrow. He has held senior roles at Northcliffe, The Daily Telegraph, Santander, Barclaycard, AXA, Prudential and Fidelity. In 2004, he founded a marketing agency that worked amongst others with The Guardian, Vodafone, E.On and Liverpool Victoria. He sold this agency in 2006 and as Chief Marketing Officer for two VC-backed start-ups launched the online platform Cleantech Intelligence (which underpinned the The Guardian’s Cleantech 100) and StrategyEye Cleantech. Most recently, he was Marketing Director of Emap, the UK’s largest B2B publisher, and the founder of Blue & Green Communications Limited.


Will Self-Driving Cars Be Better for the Environment?



self-driving cars for green environment
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Zapp2Photo |

Technologists, engineers, lawmakers, and the general public have been excitedly debating about the merits of self-driving cars for the past several years, as companies like Waymo and Uber race to get the first fully autonomous vehicles on the market. Largely, the concerns have been about safety and ethics; is a self-driving car really capable of eliminating the human errors responsible for the majority of vehicular accidents? And if so, who’s responsible for programming life-or-death decisions, and who’s held liable in the event of an accident?

But while these questions continue being debated, protecting people on an individual level, it’s worth posing a different question: how will self-driving cars impact the environment?

The Big Picture

The Department of Energy attempted to answer this question in clear terms, using scientific research and existing data sets to project the short-term and long-term environmental impact that self-driving vehicles could have. Its findings? The emergence of self-driving vehicles could essentially go either way; it could reduce energy consumption in transportation by as much as 90 percent, or increase it by more than 200 percent.

That’s a margin of error so wide it might as well be a total guess, but there are too many unknown variables to form a solid conclusion. There are many ways autonomous vehicles could influence our energy consumption and environmental impact, and they could go well or poorly, depending on how they’re adopted.

Driver Reduction?

One of the big selling points of autonomous vehicles is their capacity to reduce the total number of vehicles—and human drivers—on the road. If you’re able to carpool to work in a self-driving vehicle, or rely on autonomous public transportation, you’ll spend far less time, money, and energy on your own car. The convenience and efficiency of autonomous vehicles would therefore reduce the total miles driven, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

There’s a flip side to this argument, however. If autonomous vehicles are far more convenient and less expensive than previous means of travel, it could be an incentive for people to travel more frequently, or drive to more destinations they’d otherwise avoid. In this case, the total miles driven could actually increase with the rise of self-driving cars.

As an added consideration, the increase or decrease in drivers on the road could result in more or fewer vehicle collisions, respectively—especially in the early days of autonomous vehicle adoption, when so many human drivers are still on the road. Car accident injury cases, therefore, would become far more complicated, and the roads could be temporarily less safe.


Deadheading is a term used in trucking and ridesharing to refer to miles driven with an empty load. Assume for a moment that there’s a fleet of self-driving vehicles available to pick people up and carry them to their destinations. It’s a convenient service, but by necessity, these vehicles will spend at least some of their time driving without passengers, whether it’s spent waiting to pick someone up or en route to their location. The increase in miles from deadheading could nullify the potential benefits of people driving fewer total miles, or add to the damage done by their increased mileage.

Make and Model of Car

Much will also depend on the types of cars equipped to be self-driving. For example, Waymo recently launched a wave of self-driving hybrid minivans, capable of getting far better mileage than a gas-only vehicle. If the majority of self-driving cars are electric or hybrids, the environmental impact will be much lower than if they’re converted from existing vehicles. Good emissions ratings are also important here.

On the other hand, the increased demand for autonomous vehicles could put more pressure on factory production, and make older cars obsolete. In that case, the gas mileage savings could be counteracted by the increased environmental impact of factory production.

The Bottom Line

Right now, there are too many unanswered questions to make a confident determination whether self-driving vehicles will help or harm the environment. Will we start driving more, or less? How will they handle dead time? What kind of models are going to be on the road?

Engineers and the general public are in complete control of how this develops in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see all the safety benefits of having autonomous vehicles on the road, but without any of the extra environmental impact to deal with.

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New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035



renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart /

New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.

New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.

Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.

Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”

The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.

Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”

A worldwide shift to renewable energy

Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.

Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.

Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.


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