Toute l'actualité de l'engagement actionnarial par PhiTrust

Notre impact:
- 1450 initiatives privées
- 120 initiatives publiques
- 27 résolutions externes déposées

Depuis plus de dix ans, nous croyons que l’éthique du management et la gouvernance ont un rôle fondamental au sein des entreprises dans lesquelles nous investissons pour le compte de nos clients.
Face aux défis immenses de la crise que nous vivons aujourd’hui, nous sommes de plus en plus convaincus que nos entreprises cotées en Europe ont besoin d’actionnaires minoritaires actifs qui les aident à développer des stratégies innovantes pour répondre aux enjeux financiers, commerciaux et sociaux de notre monde actuel, et nous essayons d’y contribuer par notre stratégie d’investissement.

25 octobre 2010

Greenpeace tells BNP-Paribas " Stop dangerous radioactive investments"

Voici une news intéressante concernant le financement d'un réacteur nucléaire par BNP Paribas:

--- Greenpeace International is a partner of BankTrack. Together we campaign against private sector banks and nuclear investments. for an overview please have a look here:

Paris, France, 21 October 2010 

This morning, Greenpeace activists in a number of European countries (1) called on the international bank BNP Paribas to “stop radioactive investments”, including its plans to fund an obsolete, dangerous nuclear reactor in Brazil. 

In Paris, Greenpeace activists used a BNP decorated armoured truck to deliver millions of fake ‘radioactive BNP-Paribas notes’ to AREVA’s, headquarters, the company that is building Angra 3, exposing the nuclear link between the two. 

The banking group, which provides more finance to nuclear industry than any other bank in the world (2), is planning to provide crucial financing for the construction of the nuclear reactor Angra 3, just 150 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro, as part of a French banking consortium. The total amount that is reported to be negotiated is €1.1 billion.  

"Angra 3 must be cancelled. It uses technology that pre-dates the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and that would not be permitted for use in the countries that are financing it. There has been no proper safety analysis and the legality of the project is in doubt. It will not benefit the people of Brazil,” said Jan Beránek Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner. 

“BNP’s customers have the right to know that their bank is misusing their money. Brazil does not need more nuclear electricity, it has abundant wind, hydro and biomass resources for energy – all of which provide cheaper options without creating environmental and health hazards,” he continued. 

The construction of Angra 3 started in 1984 and stopped in 1986 following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, when banks withdrew their funding. Most of the equipment that will be used to build the reactor pre-dates Chernobyl and has been left on the site for the last 25 years. It is now dangerously obsolete. 

Angra 3 falls far behind current generation of reactor technologies, which themselves suffer safety problems, construction delays and skyrocketing costs. Any large-scale upgrades and adaptations required to integrate new safety requirements will lead not only to higher construction costs, but also increase the risk of unplanned outages during its operation. There are additional safety concerns, such as, in its planning, there was no risk-analysis carried out, in clear violation of international standards (3). And, it is accessible only via one road, which frequently is blocked due landslides.  As is the realty for all nuclear reactors, there is still no permanent or safe solution for storing hazardous nuclear waste, which remains lethal for millennia.  

"The financial players have been telling us for too long they are not responsible for the direction of energy, it is a political problem. In reality, it is they as well as manufacturers who allow these dangerous nuclear projects to see the light of day,"said Sophia Majnoni d’Intignano, Greenpeace France nuclear campaigner.  

"It is high time that the banks fulfil their responsibilities. Greenpeace calls on BNP Paribas to announce its immediate withdrawal from Angra 3 and allow full transparency on its radioactive investments.”  

Greenpeace launched this campaign on 16 October, when volunteers began putting posters up around BNP branches and stickers on its ATM machines asking the public: "Do you know what your bank does with your money?" 

11 octobre 2010

Chairman or CEO, guarantor and/or manager?

The Ethos Proxinvest seminar once again highlighted the need to convince directors and senior executives of the importance of a separation of powers at the head of major groups.

Participants were unanimous in the view that it is important in major listed companies for there to be one person in charge of chairing the Board and overseeing the execution of strategy (acting as guarantor), and another serving as Chief Executive Officer (acting as executive manager), a separation which exists in the case of a Supervisory Board but is not mandatory for a Board of Directors.

It seems of still more fundamental importance, however, to establish corporate governance that:

  • enables the CEO to rely on the advice of the Chairman in difficult situations (most Chairmen tell us that this is a substantial part of their job);

  • provides for a Board that has greater freedom of expression (in the opinion of all directors with experience of both types of organisation);

  • ensures a seamless transition in the event of death, resignation or even enforced separation (as a number of recent examples have once again illustrated).

The publication of extracts from the book written by the former Director of Communication at Société Générale clearly illustrates the extreme isolation that surrounds the Chairman/CEO in times of crisis… and, sadly, other crises of this kind may well arise.

A number of Chairmen/CEOs raised objections this year on the grounds of title, with that of CEO being perceived as of “lower status” despite holding all the powers.

Perhaps in France we could – as the Swiss have done - adopt the title of Board Chairman (rather than non-executive Chairman) and Executive Chairman (a title once employed by Carlos Ghosn). This would have the merit of clearly stipulating the functions of each while retaining the term “Chairman” in both titles.

As investors, do we not have a duty to ensure the best possible governance in the companies making up our portfolio?

This, in any event, will be the guiding principle of our campaign this year, since we are convinced that this type of governance is an urgent necessity in today’s business world, to give our leading companies every possible advantage in remaining undisputed leaders.

Président ou CEO, Garant et/ou gérant ?

Le séminaire Ethos Proxinvest a une fois de plus montré la nécessité de convaincre les administrateurs et dirigeants de la nécessité de la séparation des fonctions pour les grands groupes.

Tous les participants ont en effet considéré qu'il était important dans les grandes sociétés cotées qu'une personne soit en charge de l'animation du Conseil et du contrôle de l'exécution de la stratégie (le garant) tandis qu'une autre soit le dirigeant exécutif (le gérant), séparation qui existe avec les Conseils de Surveillance mais n'est pas obligatoire avec les Conseils d'Administration... Mais il paraît encore plus fondamental de mettre en place une gouvernance qui
  • permette au CEO de s'appuyer sur les avis de son Président en cas de situation difficile (la plupart des Présidents nous expliquant que c'est une partie importante de leur job),
  • assure un conseil plus libre dans son expression (de l'avis de tous les administrateurs ayant connu les deux types d'organisation...)
  • assure une transition sans heurts en cas de décès, démission, voire de séparation forcée (plusieurs exemples récents nous l'ont encore montré).

La publication d'extraits du livre de l'ancien directeur de la communication de la Société Générale montre clairement l'extrême solitude du PDG quand la crise est là... Et malheureusement d'autres crises de ce type peuvent arriver. Certains PDG nous ont objecté cette année la question du titre, le DG étant "moins considéré" même si il a tous les pouvoirs. Peut-être pourrions-nous nous appuyer en France sur la qualification retenue en Suisse de président du Conseil (et non président non exécutif) et président de la direction (terme utilisé en son temps par Carlos Goshn). Cela aurait le mérite de bien préciser les fonctions de chacun tout en gardant la terminologie de "président".

En tant qu'investisseur, n'avons-nous pas un devoir de nous assurer de la meilleure gouvernance possible dans les sociétés de notre portefeuille ? Ce sera en tout cas l'esprit de notre campagne cette année car nous sommes convaincus de l'urgente nécessité de ce type de gouvernance dans le monde d’aujourd’hui pour donner a nos plus belles sociétés tous les atouts pour demeurer des leaders incontestés.

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