ESG roundup: Scottish pension fund backs sustainability strategy

first_imgThe £711m (€831.4m) Scottish Borders Council Pension Fund has allocated an undisclosed amount to a sustainability strategy run by Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM).The strategy, launched last year, excludes tobacco, alcohol, and fossil fuel stocks and is “carbon light”, MSIM said.William Lock, head of the asset manager’s international equity team, indicated that the Global Sustain fund would also take into account the need for “active long-term engagement with companies”.Although MSIM declined to disclose the size of the mandate, it already ran an £86m global equities allocation for the Scottish Borders scheme at the end of March 2018, according to the pension scheme’s latest annual report. Councillor David Parker, chair of the pension fund committee for for the scheme, said: “The Scottish Borders Council Pension Fund believes that a positive approach to ESG issues can positively affect the financial performance of investments, whereas a failure to address these considerations can have a detrimental effect.”Auto-enrolment provider shifts to ESG default fundLegal & General’s (L&G) UK defined contribution (DC) master trust is to shift to a multi-asset fund focused on ESG themes as the default option for its 800,000 members.The DC master trust claimed it was the first auto-enrolment provider to have an ESG-themed default option, in a press release published earlier this week.The product – the L&G Future World Multi-Asset Fund – is run by Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), the £1trn asset manager, and is made up of LGIM ESG-themed index funds.It also incorporate LGIM’s “climate impact pledge”, part of the asset manager’s engagement programme with companies “critical to the shift to a low-carbon economy”.The new default option is available to clients using the “sole select governance” option within the L&G Master Trust.While L&G claimed a first for auto-enrolment default funds, it is not the first DC fund to switch to an ESG-themed default option: HSBC’s UK pension fund selected L&G’s Future World fund for its DC offering in 2016.In addition, fellow master trust NEST has been incorporating climate-related risks into its “climate aware fund”, while auto-enrolment vehicles run by Willis Towers Watson and The People’s Pension have also allocated to ESG strategies in recent months.last_img read more

Vicente Di Loreto takes Codere leadership as company ends family affair

first_img Spanish gambling operator Grupo Codere begins 2018 by undertaking a leadership and governance restructure.Updating the market, Codere confirmed the appointment of Vicente Di Loreto as new Group Chief Executive, replacing current incumbent José Antonio Martínez Sampedro as the company leader.Di Loreto the former COO of Codere Latin America (2005-2010) will be supported by new Executive Chairman Norman Sorensen Valdez.The executive appointments see Codere governance shift executive functions away from the company founding Martinez Sampedro family.Spanish news sources report that Codere debt-controlling private equity firms demanded the executive changes, following the successful restructuring of the firm’s long-term €1 billion debt financing plan.  However, the Martinez Sampedro family who maintains an 18% corporate equity, will likely move to challenge the leadership changes at Codere’s upcoming shareholder meeting.In 2017, a restructured Codere noted significant progress in its core market of Spain, supported by accelerated growth for its Mexico and Argentina properties. Furthermore, the company launched its services within the newly regulated Colombian gambling market.Vicente Di Loreto a seasoned executive in South American betting/gambling, will be expected to continue the Codere’s new market expansions, whilst maintaining its home recovery against increased competition from international operators.“Codere is a great organisation that has managed to be at the forefront in recent decades; our intention is to continue creating value and enhancing our experience to address new projects and capture opportunities for growth” detailed Di Loreto on taking over Codere leadership. Related Articles Submit Martin Lycka – Regulatory high temperatures cancel industry’s ‘silly season’ August 11, 2020 Winamax maintains Granada CF sponsorship despite bleak Spanish outlook August 19, 2020 StumbleUpon Andrea Vota – Jdigital’s challenge of Spanish restrictions is led by logic and rationale August 13, 2020 Share Sharelast_img read more

The secret lives of leafcutting ants

first_imgRelated posts:Looking back: A microscopic wasp and other amazing Costa Rica wildlife stories Grab your binoculars: It’s Christmas Bird Count season in Costa Rica! PHOTOS: Every Costa Rica sloth image you will ever need to see Urban flocks (Part 1): 5 common birds of San José When looking for wildlife in Costa Rica, it’s easy to become fixated on the unusual mammals and vibrant birds, but one of the country’s most complex creatures lies underfoot.Living in massive colonies of up to 5 million members, leaf-cutter ants (Atta cephalotes*) have walked the Earth for millions of years. The resilient ants can even be found streaming through the street gutters of San José in their characteristic sea of green leaves. Moving along their forged path, each ant will carry a piece of leaf up to three times its own weight.Common sense would indicate that the ants feed on the tiny leaf pieces, but leaf-cutters actually use the clippings to cultivate their own fungal garden. To sustain this production, the ants have evolved intricate societies that are now among the oldest and most elaborate on earth.Three-way symbiosisLeaf-cutter ants’ millennia-long existence can be attributed to their relationships with other organisms. Using leaves cut from trees, the ants cultivate a fungus from which they feed. Studies show that leaf-cutting ants have been cultivating the same strain of fungus for at least 23 million years. Neither the ants nor the fungus can survive without the other, and this link is perhaps the best recognized example of mutual symbiosis, the dependance of two species on each another.The two species are so inter-connected that each new colony begins with both an ant and a fungal growth. A new queen will take a small bit of fungus from the colony where she is born before flying off. The queen will then mate before taking the fungus underground to form the new colony.The first days for a newly anointed colony queen are busy. Along with nursing her young, the queen has to begin growing a new fungal garden by feeding it with her feces. Soon, the queen’s first set of young are large enough to leave the nest to cut leaves to continue to feed the fungus. As the fungus expands, so does the colony.But the ants’ monoculture fungal garden is extremely susceptible to another type of parasitic fungus that the ants cannot ingest. Left uncontrolled, the fungus will form a white growth over the ants’ garden, rendering it inedible and leaving the colony to starve. To combat this threat, the ants — already the world’s first farmers — became the world’s first pharmacists.Female leaf-cutters carry a small patch on their cuticle that grows the bacteria Streptomyces. The ants spread this bacteria over leaves and fungi in the garden to kill other types of fungi. Not only does this particular bacteria ward off parasitic fungi for the leaf-cutters, but it also is found in more than half of the antibiotics in modern medicine today. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)The caste systemTo manage the enormous tasks required for a farming ant colony, leaf-cutters have divided roles, or castes. Leaf-cutters, like many insects, are polymorphic, meaning that within each species there are a number of different body types, each suited to a specific task.Queens, the colonies’ founders, have wings to fly off to start another colony, and are the only fertile female ants in any given colony. Their sole job is reproduction, which is aided by drones, or small, winged males that fly from colony to colony to help queens reproduce.The rest of the ants in the colony are infertile females tasked with protecting the nest and caring for the fungal garden. Soldier ants are the largest in the colony and, as the name implies, are responsible for guarding the other ants from predators. Next down the line are the workers, which forage and cut leaves and carry them back to the colony. There, they pass the leaves on to the smallest ants, the minima, which use their small size to work inside the colony tunnels. These ants are responsible for gardening, feeding other ants, caring for young ants and cleaning other ants and leaves.Leaf-cutters also divide themselves by age and ability. The colonies put their older, weaker ants to work in the colony’s garbage dump. These ants are quickly infected with parasitic fungus and usually do not live long. Their bodies then die in the waste dump away from the healthy ants.Biologists estimate that the ants manage to clear as much as 15 percent of the leaves in Neotropical forests for their fungal gardens indicating massive populations. Today the ants are among the most evolutionary successful creatures on the planet, having survived for tens of millions of years.So the next time you walk through the forest, turn your head from the trees and skies and direct your gaze down for a glimpse at the oldest society on the planet.*Note: There are seven species of leaf-cutting ants found in Costa Rica. Atta cephalotes are the most common.Also Recommended: 6 camouflaged Costa Rican creatures you probably haven’t seenRead more “Into the Wild” columns here Facebook Commentslast_img read more