We were delighted to be ranked number 1 in sustainability by Sustainalytics, a global responsible investment research firm. In a peer group of 24 financial institutions we received an overall sustainability score of 86%, significantly above the sector average of 54%. We received high scores on all three themes – environment, governance and social. We were also assessed by Oekom Research, another rating agency. We scored a B or ‘prime’ rating – the highest within our peer group.
Our Sustainalytics and Oekom Research ratings helped ensure the successful issue of our first ever ‘sustainability bonds’, which are placed under FMO’s Global Medium Term Note (GMTN) program. These bonds subscribe to the same criteria as our other financing activities, including best practices in ESG risk management and compliance with the FMO exclusion list, which clearly identifies trades and industries that FMO does not invest in. They signify a commitment to sustainability on a deeper corporate level. This year they were placed with KLM and Triodos, two companies who strive to make sustainable investment a part of their business.
Partnership is integral to the FMO approach. In April 2012, we opened a joint office in Johannesburg with DEG, the German development finance institution. The Johannesburg office is our only regional office at present, and currently employs three FMO and seven DEG staff. This office is expected to increase efficiency for and contact with our shared clients in Southern Africa, and facilitate further growth in our operations in Southern Africa. We closed several joint transactions with DEG in Southern Africa in 2012, such as solar and wind projects in South Africa. In the coming year we will explore whether this office could be a model for further cooperation with DEG in other regions.