The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved $5.6 million in business and agricultural financing, helping to leverage enough private investment to support economic development projects totaling $13.4 million. ‘VEDA is pleased to help support the expansion and start-up plans of these businesses and farms,’ said Jo Bradley, VEDA’s Chief Executive Officer. ‘These small business, technology and agricultural investments will help stimulate economic activity and create jobs in Vermont.’ Projects approved for VEDA financing include: Champlain Chocolate Company, Inc., Burlington ‘ $1.3 million in VEDA financing was approved as part of a $3.5 million project to support Champlain Chocolate Company Inc.’s (d/b/a Lake Champlain Chocolate’s) purchase and renovation of the 32,000 square foot former Sondik building on Pine Street in Burlington. TD Bank will also provide financing for the project. Champlain Chocolate Company’s new facility is directly across Birchcliff Parkway from the company’s current headquarters, production and retail facility. The new facility will help Champlain Chocolate Company expand production over the next several years to meet growing demand for its award winning chocolates. Management reports that the Project will enable Champlain Chocolate Company to expand employment by nearly 22% over the next three years. American Crafted Spirits, Windsor ‘ Financing of $101,250 was approved as part of a $938,750 project to help American Crafted Spirits construct a 3,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Windsor and purchase equipment. Connecticut River Bank is also providing financing for the project. American Crafted Spirits Artisan Distillery will manufacture Silo Vodka. The company projects creation of five new jobs within three years of the project. In addition, VEDA approved financings totaling: · Almost $1.9 million to Vermont farmers through the Authority’s agricultural loan program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC); · $1.4 million through the Authority’s Small Business Loan Program to assist growing Vermont small businesses that are unable to access adequate sources of conventional financing;· Almost $600,000 through the Authority’s Technology Loan Program, designed to assist smaller technology-related firms; and · $344,628 through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, which provides funds to repair or improve existing privately-owned drinking water systems. VEDA’s mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises. Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.8 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org(link is external) VEDA 12.19.2011
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ERAFP, the French mandatory pension scheme for civil servants, has tendered two mandates for ESG rating agencies to assess the pension fund’s investments against its socially responsible investment (SRI) policy.The call for tender is a renewal of existing mandates.The €23.5bn fund is looking to hire two “extra-financial rating agencies to assess the social responsibility of ERAFP’s investments in various asset classes”.One mandate is in relation to equity and corporate bond investments made on behalf of ERAFP, which the selected rating agency would need to assess against their compliance with the pension fund’s SRI guidelines. A second mandate is for the same type of assessment but for investments mainly in sovereign, supranational and sub-sovereign bonds (SSA).The contracts will be for four years, with a possible extension of two years.Vigeo and Oekom Research – ratings agencies from France and Germany, respectively – have been responsible for this work since October 2010, when ERAFP last awarded the relevant mandates.Vigeo was selected for the equity and corporate bond assessment, while Oekom was chosen as a partner with respect to ERAFP’s SSA bond investments.Vigeo merged with EIRIS, a UK ESG agency, late last year.In other news, AFG, the French asset management association, has published a practical guide for asset managers to measure and report on their investments’ carbon footprint.In the guide (French only), the association notes that, although not all asset managers measure the carbon footprint of fund portfolios, this practice is set to spread given growing interest from clients and improvements in methodology.It also “strongly advises” asset managers to state clearly the limits of any figures reported given the wide range of calculation methods.