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::response - Sustainability & CSR Advice
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Buzzes   50 of 12,545 results

  • EU regulation to reduce energy sector methane emissions in the EU and the global supply chain has been adopted
  • Coal, oil and gas operators and importers will need to adhere to the same reporting standard on a separate timeline
  • We think as direct monitoring tools and regulations advance, companies would need to step up their abatement actions

Clients of HSBC Global Research can access the full report via the HSBC Global Research website or by contacting Wai-Shin Chan

The time has come: This week, the EU Commission formally adopted the EU Regulation to reduce energy sector methane emissions in Europe and in its global supply chains. Under the new regulation, fossil energy companies operating in the EU will be subjected to a number of reporting standards and restrictions from 2025 and similar policies will be applied to coal, oil and gas importers from 2027.
 
Advancing the Global Methane Pledge (GMP): More than 120 (now 155) countries, including the US and the EU, signed the GMP at COP26 in 2021. Yet, little progress has been made since then.

(https://influencemap.org/report/The-European-Meat-and-Dairy-Sector-s-Climate-Policy-Engagement-28096)

InfluenceMap’s new analysis outlines a campaign over the last three years stemming from the meat and dairy industry against policy efforts to address the sector’s climate impact. The strategic advocacy appears to have had a significant impact on the ambition of EU policymaking related to the production and consumption of meat and dairy products in Europe.

  • This report examines corporate engagement from ten companies and five industry associations in the meat and dairy sector on six EU policies to reduce emissions in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2019 Special Report on Climate Change and Land use and 2022 Working Group III recommendations.
  • The analysis suggests a split between different parts of the meat and dairy sector, with consumer goods focused companies, such as Unilever and Nestlé, appearing to engage more positively on the EU policies covered by this report than meat and dairy producer companies, such as Arla and Danish Crown. Industry associations representing these companies were highly engaged on these policies, appearing to align with the more oppositional positions taken by food producer companies.
  • Meat and dairy producers, and the industry associations that represent them, use a combination of strategic narrative building and detailed policy engagement that mirrors the tactics of the fossil fuel industry to obstruct climate policy tackling the sector’s emissions. Both sectors employ similar misleading narratives through strategic public messaging to sow doubt and undermine the need to tackle GHG emissions from the meat and dairy sector.

 

(https://www.pgim.com/megatrends/fueling-global-energy-future/landscape)

Nations have risen and fallen, governments come to power and been ousted, and businesses created and destroyed, all in the quest for energy. Today we stand at another critical inflection point for the energy system. For long-term investors, navigating this unprecedented and uncertain energy landscape is critical for four key reasons:

  1. Energy not only accounts for 10% of the global economy but is also a crucial input into the remaining 90%. Energy prices drive key macroeconomic indicators including inflation, consumer spending, economic growth and external balances.
  2. Establishing and maintaining dependable access to energy lies at the heart of many geographical fault lines. These geopolitical risks are critical for understanding sovereign risk, evaluating potential capital restrictions and monitoring country-specific risk factors across the portfolio.
  3. The energy transition – the shift towards electrification and a low-carbon energy mix – creates an array of attractive investment opportunities, leads to obsolescence risk in waning energy sectors that may be over-represented in investors’ portfolios, and requires vigilance against overhyped innovations that in reality are often too distant, uneconomic or politically unfeasible.
  4. For investors with ESG goals, the inescapable arithmetic of global energy supply and demand means fossil fuels will remain a major source of energy supply for decades to come. Such a world requires considerable investment nuance – and a simplistic strategy that divides the world into brown villains and green heroes will not be the most effective approach to achieve either environmental or fiduciary objectives.

(https://www.artemisfunds.com/-/media/files/stewardship-and-esg/stewardship-policy-and-reports/artemis-stewardship-report-2023.pdf)

Artemis Investment Management's latest stewardship report covers key areas of their activities, including:

  • Stewardship in action at Artemis 
  • Purpose and governance 
  • Investment approach 
  • Engagement approach
  • Exercising rights and responsibilities as active investors

(https://professionals.fidelity.co.uk/static/uk-professional/media/pdf/sustainable-investing/Fidelity-UK-Stewardship-Code.pdf)

At Fidelity International, they believe that effective stewardship plays an essential role in creating long-term value for our clients and stakeholders. By actively engaging with the companies in which they invest, they seek to promote sustainable business practices, strong corporate governance, and responsible social and environmental policies.

Over the past year, they have continued to strengthen our stewardship activities and deepen our engagement with investee companies. This report breaks down their activities across the 12 stewardship principles.

@
Emy Fraai

(https://www.robeco.com/en-int/insights/2024/05/asia-makes-huge-strides-in-commitment-to-climate-investing)

Investors in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region have moved ahead of Europeans in making tackling global warming a priority, the fourth Robeco Global Climate Investing Survey shows.

Summary

  • Commitments to climate investing and net zero rise significantly in Asia
  • Regional differences also in motivations and perceived headwinds
  • Much progress in accounting for emissions and use of engagement

 

DOWNLOAD THE ROBECO GLOBAL CLIMATE INVESTING SURVEY 2024

 

 

 

 

 

 

(https://www.ofi-invest-am.com/en/support/a-word-on-understanding-metals-silver-the-jack-of-all-trades-precious-metal/6655ec26b18ae)

Key takeaways

- Silver’s surprising properties make it a versatile metal that is essential to many industrial sectors. Most of our electronic devices, from the simplest to the most elaborate, contain silver. If your device has an on/off button – whether a computer, a remote control or a child’s toy – there is probably silver in it.

- The silver market is experiencing a transformation that is both rapid and radical: new uses, particularly in the energy transition and digitalisation, have quickly taken over a large portion of global output. Within a few years, booming demand has been such that it already accounts for one third of silver demand!

- All of this has exerted pressure on silver supply so great that a study from the University of New South Wales suggests that the solar power sector alone could exhaust 85% to 98% of global silver reserves by 2050(5). Barring a rapid increase in output, which is hard to imagine as things now stand, the market will have to settle for the conventional adjustment variable on an unbalanced commodities market: price.

(https://www.bsr.org/en/blog/the-united-states-is-at-risk-of-marginalizing-itself-on-sustainability-what-business-can-do)

This is the second of a two-part series on how developments in the United States are marginalizing its global leadership role, and creating unnecessary barriers to the achievement of a more just and sustainable global economy. 

The lack of consistent American engagement and leadership on just and sustainable business is having far-reaching consequences. The picture we painted in the first installment of this two-part series includes inconsistent and changing regulations, opposing approaches in different US states, a decline in global cooperation, and increased geopolitical conflict that interferes with global trade. These developments are bad not only for sustainable business, but also bad for business in general.

(https://ninetyone.com/en/international/insights/net-zero-investing-searching-for-returns-and-real-world-change)

Shifting from reducing financed emissions to financing reduced emissions. Using practical examples, this paper sets out how we can evolve the approach to net-zero investing to achieve the dual objectives of delivering decarbonisation in the real economy while optimising returns for clients and beneficiaries.

(https://www.finchandbeak.com/1832/esg-reshuffles-cfos-priorities-deal-makers.htm)

Finch & Beak: ESG Reshuffles CFOs’ Priorities: Deal Makers or Deal Breakers?

The role of CFOs is expanding, and sustainability matters are playing an increasingly important part in their decisions. Being responsible for trillions of dollars of business investments worldwide, today’s CFOs should use their power wisely and see the integration of climate and other ESG aspects in their tasks and responsibilities as an opportunity to generate competitive advantages, anticipate the financial impacts of ESG and hence ensure long-term business success.

This article showcases the benefits of incorporating ESG in CFOs’ responsibilities and provides a 5-step roadmap of how to do that successfully.

(https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2024/04/how-to-manage-ais-energy-demand-today-tomorrow-and-in-the-future/)

Remarkably, the computational power required for sustaining AI's rise is doubling roughly every 100 days. To achieve a tenfold improvement in AI model efficiency, the computational power demand could surge by up to 10,000 times. The energy required to run AI tasks is already accelerating with an annual growth rate between 26% and 36%.

This means by 2028, AI could be using more power than the entire country of Iceland used in 2021. The AI lifecycle impacts the environment in two key stages: the training phase and the inference phase. In the training phase, models learn and develop by digesting vast amounts of data.

Once trained, they step into the inference phase, where they're applied to solve real-world problems. At present, the environmental footprint is split, with training responsible for about 20% and inference taking up the lion's share at 80%. As AI models gain traction across diverse sectors, the need for inference and its environmental footprint will escalate.

(https://www.liontrust.co.uk/insights/podcasts/global-infusions/the-business-of-nuclear)

In this episode of Global Infusions, Tom is joined by his latest guest co-host, James, to explore the business of nuclear energy. From power plants to uranium mines, the whole industry has entered the limelight and for good reason. They also discuss the surprising problem facing the Panama Canal and, in the run-up to Easter, chat about the price of chocolate eggs.

(https://maitland.h-advisors.global/the-sec-falls-behind-in-the-climate-race/)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released its long-awaited climate rule for publicly traded companies in the US. The rule, which was meant to be finalised last year, will require companies to disclose their climate-related risks as well as their greenhouse gas emissions, as underpinned by the Greenhouse Gas protocol. SEC Commissioners voted 3-2 in favour of the rule last week, making it the country’s first federal climate related mandate. 

Despite this though, the final rule cut out a major piece of the 2022 proposal, which would have forced businesses to disclose their Scope 3 emissions – those that originate from their supply chain or outside of their direct operations. For many companies, Scope 3 emissions are the largest portion of a company’s overall emissions profile. SEC Chair Gary Gensler justified this decision based on public feedback, assuring that the final rule “will enhance the disclosures that investors have been relying on to make their investment decision.” 

(https://www.capitalgroup.com/institutions/gb/en/insights/articles/investors-esg-radar.html)

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Regulators are putting a more intense spotlight on supply chains.
  • Corporates are recognising the challenge of AI governance.
  • Reality bites for the energy transition.
  • Further financial innovations among sovereigns.
  • Biodiversity is maturing.

(https://www.capitalgroup.com/intermediaries/ie/en/insights/articles/future-food-trends.html)

Report here

The global food system is in a multi-decade period of upheaval. Governments, regulators, companies and consumers are rethinking the way food is produced and consumed in an increasingly resource-constrained world. Innovation and disruption are already happening and will, in our view, accelerate in the coming years.

Key Takeaways

• Feeding a growing global population will require new production methods to align with an intensifying focus on sustainability among regulators and consumers.
• For long-term investors, structural changes across the value chain will present both opportunities and risks as innovations disrupt varied food-related industries.
• Seed innovation, lower-impact fertilisers, precision agriculture, regenerative farming, alternative proteins and waste management and reduction are among the innovations we are keeping a close eye on.

(https://www.canva.com/design/DAGEwUYBCJw/zIt0GWKB8aU0rURagi05hA/view?utm_content=DAGEwUYBCJw&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link2&utm_source=uniquelinks&utlId=GPlbRZT01w)

MainStreet Partners: Record-Breaking Sovereign GSS Bonds

Lead Corporate Issuers in Energy Savings & Clean Transport Investment

– Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) Bonds Report (Spring Edition)

This report finds that Sovereign GSS Bond issuance reached a record-breaking USD $160 billion of issuance, which accounted for almost one-third (31%) of Green Bonds issued last year.

The top beneficiary of this investment (accounting for 43% of the use of proceeds) was Clean Transportation, perhaps surprisingly receiving three-times the investment awarded to Renewable Energy projects by other, non-Sovereign GSS Bond market issuers.

While Sovereign bonds tend to tackle a greater variety of project types, including in several “underfunded” categories, their comparatively minor focus on Renewable Energy leads to a lower average Alignment with the European Taxonomy; 31% for Sovereigns compared with 59% for Corporates.

The difference stems mostly from the broader programs financed by governments, often providing less evidence that can be used to analyze their Taxonomy Alignment.

(https://www.impactinvesting.online/2024/04/cir-review-msnbc-on-algebra-of-wealth.html)

In a world where financial security seems increasingly elusive for the younger generation, the fight against climate change emerges as another battleground where youth are grappling with the consequences of decisions made by older generations. The conversation above sheds light on the structural inequities embedded in the tax system, which disproportionately burden younger individuals striving to achieve economic stability.

As wealth becomes concentrated in the hands of a select few, exacerbated by policies favoring capital gains and mortgage industry interests, younger Americans find themselves facing stagnant wages, unaffordable housing, and diminishing opportunities. These economic challenges intersect with the urgency of addressing climate change, as younger generations inherit a planet ravaged by environmental degradation and unchecked resource exploitation.

 

(https://www.blackenterprise.com/cost-saving-options-for-black-americans-to-consider-as-mortgage-rates-exceed-7/)

William Michael Cunningham, an economist and owner of Creative Investment Research, says that though the 30-year rate has increased, it is still much lower than it was in October 2023, when it was about 7.8%.

He says that means the monthly costs for today’s buyer on a $250,000 mortgage with a $10,000 down payment is $1,728 at 7.8%, as opposed to $1,613 on a 7.1 % mortgage.  He says the difference would save a buyer over $41,300 over the life of the mortgage in payment and interest costs. “That’s four times the amount of the down payment than you placed on the home that you’re buying, giving you more money to buy another house if you decide to do so.”

He says another cost-saving option Black homebuyers should consider is energy-efficient mortgages.

Britvic

Britvic is a UK-based soft drinks company operating in five segments: GB, Brazil, Ireland, France and International to manufacture or distribute brands including Robinsons, J2O, Fruit Shoot, R Whites and Purdeys, Ballygowan, MiWadi, Club, TK, Cidona, Teisseire, Pressade, Moulin de Valdonne, Maguary, Bela Ischia and Dafruta.  The company also manufactures and distributes private label syrups and branded flavour concentrates.

Sustainability issue focus

On this roadshow, Sarah Webster (Director of Sustainable Business) and Steve Webster (Director of Investor Relations) will present on and answer the questions around Britvic’s approach to:

  • Driving down calories
  • Cutting Scope 1 and Scope 2 market-based carbon emissions
  • Pioneering dispense technology that delivers soft drinks ‘Beyond the Bottle’
  • Investments in our employees’ wellness and wellbeing
  • Other aspects of the company’s sustainability exposures and management

Roadshow details

Analysts and investors are invited to participate in the following events:

  • 1-on-1 meetings for investors (limited availability)
  • Four slots from 10:00 onwards on Thurs 20 June
  • RSVP ASAP by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

===

  • Small group meeting for investors (limited availability)
  • 13:30 – 14:30 on Thurs 20 June
  • RSVP via SRI-Connect here or to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

===

  • Briefing call for ESG ratings agency analysts
  • 15:00 – 16:00 on Thurs 20 June
  • RSVP via SRI-Connect here or to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(https://chinawaterrisk.org/notices/new-cwr-report-crude-awakening-fast-rising-seas-threaten-global-oil-trade-energy-security-spotlight-japan-south-korea/?utm_source=China+Water+Risk&utm_campaign=60519f5321-World_Water_Day_Special_Edition_3_22_2012_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_caee821f95-60519f5321-291194861)

CWR: Crude Awakening! Fast rising seas threaten global oil trade & energy security – Spotlight: Japan & South Korea

The report warns that the entire oil supply chain is in for a crude awakening as almost two-thirds of oil produced globally is shipped by oil tankers, yet stress tests of the world’s Top 15 Tanker Terminals to various levels of sea level rise (SLR) show that 12 will be impacted at just 1m.

This fresh take on oil has sobering implications for both energy and economic security as well as sovereign credit ratings, especially for Japan and South Korea, as they are particularly exposed with almost 100% of their oil imported by sea.

The report is the second in CWR’s new 2024 “Accelerated Threat Series” and aims to address fast rising seas, an imminent threat multiplier if we do not manage to keep warming within 1.5°C.

(https://influencemap.org/report/Automakers-and-Climate-Policy-Advocacy-A-Global-Analysis-27906)

New InfluenceMap analysis finds that negative lobbying by the world’s largest automakers is putting global climate targets at risk and threatening the transition to electric vehicles.

This report analyses the climate policy engagement strategies of fifteen of the largest global automakers in seven key regions (Australia, EU, Japan, India, South Korea, UK, US). It shows how even in countries where major climate legislation has recently passed, such as the US and Australia, the ambition of these policies has been weakened due to industry pressure.

 

(https://www.saturna.com/insights/white-papers/gcc-sukuk-primer-3rd-edition)

Saturna Capital: GCC Sukuk Primer, 3rd Edition

This piece, the first of its kind on the GCC US dollar sukuk market, provides an overview on the investment attributes and characteristics of the market.  The 3rd edition, representing the period ending 2023

(https://bit.ly/4bLyoa7)

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the launch of several high-profile climate package policies. The US introduced the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Europe announced its Green Deal and China formalised its “dual-carbon goals” with 2030 and 2060 emissions targets.

These policies, combined with trade policy and regional protectionism and the demand environment create a complex picture.

In this article Victoria MacLean explores the impact these factors have had on the Chinese solar panel, electric vehicle (EV) and components and software markets. Including how these are influencing our current investments.

While the picture may be complicated, we believe that companies that can capture the opportunities in the shift to a green economy will be well placed to outperform over the coming years.

impactinvesting assetmanager thoughtleadership

(https://www.deka.de/site/dekade_deka-gruppe_site/get/params_E-1679316193/10965382/Deka%20Sustainablity%20Report%202023.pdf)

DEKA Group's latest sustainability report covers key areas of their activities including:

  • Sustainability strategy - business model and governance, sustainability strategy, stakeholder dialogue and materiality analysis, and ESG communication 
  • Environmental - sustainable banking operations, environmental management, climate protection in business operations 
  • Social - sustainable products, employees - sustainable human resource management, and social engagement 
  • Governance - sustainable corporate governance

(https://www.la-francaise.com/fileadmin/docs/Actualites/FR/2024/Stewardship_Report_2023_final.pdf)

La Francaise Group's latest stewardship report covers key areas of their activities including:

  • Thematic approach 
  • Voting 
  • Engagement 
  • Industry associations 
  • Public policy engagements 
  • Collaborative engagements
  • Direct engagements
  • Dialogues

(https://s3.eu-north-1.amazonaws.com/dnb-asset-management/Annual-Semiannual-reports/DNB-AM-Annual-Report-on-Responsible-Investments-2023.pdf)

DNB's latest report details their Responsible Investment principles, approach and focus areas, in pages 22 -78. Key topics covered include:

  • Initiatives and standards, and governance
  • Four pillars of DNB's Responsible Investment Approach - standard setting, active ownership, exclusions and ESG-integration
  • Long-term focus areas - human rights, climate, water and biodiversity 
  • Thematic focus areas - Oceans, human capital, health and sustainable food systems

HSBC: Climate Radar Companion - Equity exposure to Waste and Food & Agriculture themes

  • Global climate stocks have lagged the FTSE AW index by c3% YTD, but we see two themes with positive signals
  • Waste and Food & Agriculture elevate to the most attractive climate themes on the HSBC Climate Radar for Q2 2024
  • These themes show a material uplift in short-term dynamics and still cautious but improving investor sentiment

Clients of HSBC Global Research can access the full report via the HSBC Global Research website or by contacting Wai-Shin Chan

Our Climate Radar report highlights 20 stocks, ten in each of the two themes. Our equity research team covers 1/10 in Waste and 2/10 in Food & Agriculture themes (see HSBC Climate Radar: Q2 2024: Defensive climate themes take centre stage, 15 May 2024).
 
We screen the HSBC Climate Solutions Database across different regions using the following minimum criteria: (1) revenue exposure of 10% to climate solutions; (2) market capitalisation of USD500m; and (3) free float market capitalisation of 10%.
 
After strong share price performance in 2023, climate stocks have delivered more mixed relative performance in 2024, with more than half of our twenty themes underperforming the FTSE AW index. Large defensive climate themes, such as Waste, Water, and Nuclear, have outperformed. But decarbonisation themes, such as Solar and Wind, continue to underperform.

 

(https://substack.com/app-link/post?publication_id=10802&post_id=142686342&utm_source=post-email-title&utm_campaign=email-post-title&isFreemail=true&r=2u2apu&token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjoxNzE0MjgwMzQsInBvc3RfaWQiOjE0MjY4NjM0MiwiaWF0IjoxNzE2MTg0ODg0LCJleHAiOjE3MTg3NzY4ODQsImlzcyI6InB1Yi0xMDgwMiIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.s7DeA_2CQJF-9aSuPA_LVQTtdt_wUy7tyJxzHX82h0E)

In recent years, we have seen more and more companies from Europe and the UK choose a cross-listing in the US or move their listing across the pond entirely. The most common reason cited for this move is the higher valuations achieved for shares, but another issue sometimes mentioned is the overregulation in the ESG space.

I think ESG regulation has gone too far in Europe, and it needs to be relaxed somewhat. And I am glad to see that both the UK and EU regulators are currently sounding out ways to improve regulation. But we should not water down regulation to the very low standards in the US because over there, ESG regulation is ineffective, in my view, even with the new SEC disclosure requirements for climate risks.

Moritz Wiedemann from Imperial College London has published an interesting study that investigates the link between cross-listing in the US and sustainable capex of European and Asian companies. In particular, he exploited the difference in pressure from institutional investors together with the difference in regulation.

(https://www.acenrenewables.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/ACEN-2023-Integrated-Report_vF-web.pdf)

'We have made great strategic progress in scaling up our renewables portfolio since we announced our goal of reaching 5 GW of renewables in 2019. In addition to growing our renewables, we also continue to play a leading role in early coal retirement in the region and help other countries transition to cleaner technology in the fight against climate change.'

NB- 'ACEN is the listed energy platform of the Ayala Group. The company has around 4,800 MW of renewable energy capacity in operations and under construction across its key markets in the Philippines, Australia, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia.

As one of the fastest-growing platforms for renewable energy in the Asia Pacific region, ACEN aims to increase its renewable capacity to 20 GW by 2030. This goal will help provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy to more people.

ACEN is committed to achieving its goal of 100% renewable energy in its generation portfolio by 2025 and becoming a Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions company by 2050.'

RFI Foundation: What is holding back sustainable financial flows to lower middle-income countries?

At the end of April, the European Commission’s High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on scaling up sustainable finance in lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) returned their final recommendations. These build on the position that public sector funding is insufficient to fill the US$3.5 trillion of annual financing for climate and nature risks and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that private sector investment is required.

The volume of investment needed for these goals in LMICs in particular outstrips the public sector financial resources available either domestically or through international climate finance from developed countries. A large share of the international climate finance to meet climate and other sustainable development goals will need to come from private sector investors who have sufficient assets to fill the gap. However, these investors face numerous barriers that limit the flows of financing to LMICs that need it.

The European Commission’s HLEG on sustainable finance in LMICs acknowledged the gap between the current flows and what is needed and provided evaluation of several points where action could overcome them. Despite LMICs excluding China accounting for 21% of global GDP, only 4.1% of EU pension fund assets and an even smaller 1.3% of EU insurance company assets are invested in these markets.

The HLEG evaluated many explanations for the underinvestment in LMICs by EU investors. These included perceived risk levels, low credit ratings, weak information on sustainability characteristics, limited availability of ‘green’ assets, and other factors that drive a wedge between risk and expected returns for investors on the one hand, and how these demands match up with the needs of issuers in LMICs on the other.

One issue that has been exacerbated as developed market interest rates rise is that the higher risk-free rates widen the wedge created by other investor demands such as for hard currency-denomination, regulatory capital treatment of LMIC investments, and interest rate hedging costs for floating-rate instruments. For issuers in LMICs looking to source sustainable finance, the expectations of developed market investors such as EU insurers and pension funds can require sacrificing flexibility and high costs, which may be insurmountable. Instead, needed financing may not flow at all.

There have been many attempts to find structures that can thread the needle between what investors demand and what issuers can provide, in some cases using the limited supply of public sector finance through blended finance. For example, there have been debt swaps where debt trading at a discount is bought back and funded with new issuance to investors attracted by the issuer nation’s commitment to invest the savings in nature or climate projects.

However, the infrastructure required to make these transactions work–from guarantees on the new debt, negotiation with current holders, dealing with signaling to investors about the credit impact of the transactions combined with the small resulting investments in nature or climate projects — may not make the impact worth the cost. Some investors, for example, may be concerned that a ‘debt-for-nature’ or ‘debt-for-climate’ bond carries greenwashing risk because the proportion of the proceeds used for refinancing debt is much higher than the amount invested in nature or climate projects.

These projects are designed in part for their applicability for countries facing high levels of debt and limited fiscal space. Another approach evaluated by the HLEG is the monetization of sovereign assets to fund climate projects either through long-term leases or outright asset sales (privatization). In general, governments are often reticent to transfer ownership of sovereign assets since those that would be of most interest to investors would either be considered as strategic assets or would be revenue-generating assets for the government.

Another issue considered was that capital requirements can create perverse outcomes where blended finance for de-risking of sustainable assets in LMICs actually becomes more costly for investors than assets perceived to be higher risk. The HLEG recommendations specifically highlighted the rules under Solvency II, where a de-risked public-private debt investment received twice the capital charge as an equity investment in an LMIC of similar risks because the rules did not qualify it under EU regulations as a simple, transparent and standardized securitization.

Finally, there may be significant variations between the sustainability definitions applied by European investors and gaps in data or ‘green asset’ availability in many LMICs. For example, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) sets a certain level of expectation for sustainable finance to achieve a particular objective as well as demonstrating that it doesn’t do significant harm.

Investors may hold back on some investments if there isn’t enough information about alignment with sustainability and do no significant harm (DNSH) requirements to overcome fear of greenwashing allegations. However, in doing so, especially in LMICs with different local sustainable finance regulations, not providing finance may impair development of ‘green assets’ more than if some projects don’t ultimately fulfil the criteria.

There are many challenges to scaling up sustainable finance in LMICs, but none surpass the benefit from increasing sustainable finance in countries that by-and-large are going to be more negatively impacted by climate change and nature loss than they contributed to the problem. In addition, the spillover effects of degrading climate and nature will affect every country, although the impacts may be felt inequitably. There is an economic, social and equity argument that supports increasing flows of sustainable finance to LMICs that should be compelling enough to overcome technical, regulatory and other barriers and an urgency that business as usual won’t be enough.

Get the latest insights about responsible finance in OIC markets & Islamic finance from the RFI Foundation, C.I.C. Subscribe to RFI’s free email newsletter today!

(https://www.axa-im.com/document/6851/view)

Key aspects of AXA Investment Managers latest report include: 

  • Engagement in 2024 - Research thematics 
  • Engagement highlights from 2023 
  • Engagement themes - climate change, biodiversity, gender diversity, responsible technology, social, governance 
  • Key voting data from 2023
  • ESG integration into platforms

(https://www.bostontrustwalden.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/Annual-ESG-Impact-Report-Boston-Trust-Walden-2023.pdf)

Report Highlights:

PRINCIPLED INVESTING. SUSTAINED STEWARDSHIP.

In this 2023 ESG Impact Report, we share examples of actions we’ve taken on behalf of our clients to transform the systems that guide corporate decision-making and achieve sustained impact.

2023 REACH AND IMPACT RESULTS

Boston Trust Walden’s multifaceted approach to active ownership — refined over nearly five decades of experience — enabled us to reach 83% of the companies held across our investment strategies. Nearly half of the companies we engaged took steps to strengthen corporate policies, enhance public reporting, or advance more sustainable business practices.

DRIVING BOARD DIVERSITY

For more than 30 years, Boston Trust Walden has been actively engaging companies, regulators, and policymakers to advance diversity within corporate boardrooms. In 2023, we leveraged public policy advocacy to defend the Nasdaq Board Diversity rule and ensure investor access to decision-useful board diversity disclosure.

BUILDING MORE INCLUSIVE WORKPLACES

Since the early 1990s, Boston Trust Walden has successfully engaged more than 200 companies to adopt fully inclusive EEO policies and practices — including protections for LGBTQ+ employees. In 2023, approximately 99% of companies held across our investment strategies had in place fully inclusive EEO policies.

GETTING TO NET ZERO

In 2023, Boston Trust Walden implemented a multiyear initiative to engage with portfolio companies encouraging them to set science-based GHG emissions reduction targets. Utilizing a multiphased approach, we engaged nearly 100 companies on this topic – 70% of which were small or SMID cap equity holdings.

 

(https://www.greenbankinvestments.com/sites/greenbankinvestments.com/files/literature/pdfs/2024-04/greenbank_engagement_review_2023-24.pdf)

Greenbank's latest report details activities of their stewardship activities including:

  • Engagement approach 
  • Sustainable development themes 
  • Priority engagement themes - Health, nature and climate 
  • Impact from engagements in 2023

 

(https://www.generationim.com/media/geuffwq3/gim-stewardship-report-2023_final.pdf)

This report covers the calendar year 2023. The report is structured around the 12 Principles of the UK Stewardship Code. Under each of the Principles, you will see the Principle itself set out. You will then find disclosure of Generation’s stewardship ‘activity’ before our reporting of the stewardship ‘outcome.’ For some but not all of the Principles, the Code requires that reporting of activity and outcomes is preceded by disclosure of ‘context.’

(https://www.sia-partners.com/en/insights/publications/impact-digitalisation-decarbonisation-shipping-industry)

The study, which GBSN commissioned Sia Partners to conduct, proposes comprehensive models based on live cases to quantify the opportunities that digitalised documentation processes represent for a sector that is a cornerstone of global trade. These include the adoption of electronic Bills of Lading (eBL) and the use of paperless solutions during the cargo release process.  

Today, shipping accounts for nearly 3% of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. While shipping remains more carbon-efficient than air transport, there is a pressing need for decarbonisation within the industry as international oversight bodies seek to achieve net zero by 2050. A major hurdle in this direction is the continued reliance on paper documents for legal and regulatory purposes, which adds to the industry's carbon footprint. 

The study suggests that the absence of a universally adopted digital platform creates interoperability challenges, complicating efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Against this backdrop, GSBN's comprehensive global data infrastructure emerges as a good candidate to support interoperability and facilitate the transition to a digital ecosystem. Unlike blockchains such as the Bitcoin network, GSBN’s blockchain infrastructure adopts a more energy efficient consensus algorithm ensuring its carbon footprint is in line with sustainability goals. 

(https://cdn.cdp.net/cdp-production/cms/reports/documents/000/007/664/original/Managing_Risks_in_the_Palm_Oil_Supply_Chain-A_Guide_for_Investors.pdf?1714468801)

Specifically, the report focuses on the sustainability performance of the five largest non-disclosing palm oil producers in Indonesia, highlighting the levels of risk they are exposed to that remain invisible to their investors, including:

  1. Insufficient no-conversion policy - All assessed companies have a publicly available sustainability policy that includes elements of NDPE. However, none has a no-conversion policy for wider natural ecosystems, demonstrating a low awareness of natural ecosystem protection and its socio-cultural importance. 
  2. Incomplete third-party international certifications - All companies indicated their adoption of ISPO standard. However, two companies did not adhere to any international certification schemes. Such certification ensures the existence of policies to eliminate deforestation practices and prevent ecosystem conversion and human rights abuses throughout the supply chain.
  3. A lack of forest-related risk assessment - Four of the assessed companies did not perform forest-related risk assessment, demonstrating a low awareness of forest-related risks within their operations and supply chains and inability to manage future uncertainties and liabilities.
  4. A lack of landscape approach initiative involvement - Two of the assessed companies did not participate in landscape or jurisdictional approach initiatives, highlighting immaturity in collaboratively working with multiple stakeholders across local jurisdictions and landscapes to achieve common no-deforestation goals.

Overall, the assessment of this sample shows that although some actions to address deforestation have been taken, the ambition is insufficient. Thus, investors’ exposure to deforestation risks may be significant.

(https://www.worldbenchmarkingalliance.org/research/core-social-indicator-assessments-of-2000-of-the-largest-and-most-influential-companies-globally/)

As part of being assessed in the World Benchmarking Alliance’s benchmarks, 2,000 of the worlld’s most influential companies are being assessed on 18 core social indicators (CSIs). Between 2021 and July 2023, over 1600 of these companies were assessed and the remaining will be completed by the end of 2024.

These indicators, which are outlined in our Social Transformation Framework, signpost towards high-level societal expectations that companies should meet in order to leave no one behind, support the Sustainable Development Goals and help create a future that works for everyone. The core social indicators measure companies on three areas: respect for human rights, the provision and promotion decent work and ethical conduct.

(https://www.worldbenchmarkingalliance.org/research/2024-heavy-industries-benchmark/)

The World Benchmarking Alliance’s Climate and Energy Benchmark measures and ranks the world’s 91 most influential heavy industries companies apart of the sub-sectors aluminium, cement and steel on their alignment to a low-carbon world.

The 2024 benchmark is the first iteration and the assessment combines the ACT (Accelerate Climate Transition) methodologies and the WBA social and just transition indicators. This approach provides a holistic assessment of companies’ efforts to achieve a low-carbon transition that is just and equitable. 

(https://cdn.dam.union-investment.de/622308_20240426_UI_Biodiversity_Guidelines_english.pdf)

The aim of this document is to explain our approach to biodiversity and to define our under standing, the basic framework and the tools for addressing the topic in our portfolios and activities, and to identify further steps.

The preservation of biological diversity is of overarching interest. Only with intact ecosystems can the health of our planet, which forms the basis of our existence, be maintained. Between 50 and 60 percent of global economic output depends on functioning ecosystems and the associated services of nature. Biodiversity also strengthens the ability to adapt, for example to climate change.

A company's ability to create value is destroyed by the collapse of ecosystem services. For portfolio managers, this manifests itself as physical and transition risks. Operational disruptions, capital destruction and collateral erosion due to the temporary and physical impacts of biodiver sity degradation are transformed into financial risk, which takes the form of credit risks (increase in loan defaults), liquidity risks (increase in refinancing rates), market risks (erosion of bond and share prices) and operational risks (increased liability and reputational damage). 

 

(https://www.nuveen.com/global/insights/alternatives/investing-in-biodiversity)

Markets to finance the protection, better management and restoration of nature.

Protecting, improving and restoring nature can become a source of return for landowners and not just another cost of doing business.

Unprecedented global action to address the decline in nature and its causes is underway, and investments in biodiversity will be a critical part of these efforts. The global rate of species extinction is unlike anything the world has seen since the time of the dinosaurs – today, one million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, many within decades. Because over half of the world’s economy is dependent on nature, these losses threaten the wellbeing and livelihoods of people all over the world.

This paper examines existing and developing market-based pathways for land-based investment to positively impact biodiversity. Nuveen begin with an overview of environmental market frameworks developed to support biodiversity outcomes, with examples spanning voluntary and compliance market frameworks and a range of geographies. Next, they assess the current state of biodiversity credit markets, key challenges and major developing frameworks. Finally, they explore what biodiversity markets mean for investors and some of the risks unique to these markets.

(https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/india-renewable-energy-investing-opportunities)

India’s energy transformation could offer compelling investment opportunities in power generation, transmission and distribution, renewables and other green technologies.

Key Takeaways
  • India is experiencing the fastest electricity demand growth rate compared to other major economies globally. 

  • India is simultaneously undergoing a green energy transformation that could offer compelling investing opportunities.  

  • Investors can find potential opportunities in power generation, grid transmission and distribution, and renewables and other green technologies. 

India has some of the most daunting pollution problems in the world. The country’s expanding population and 7% annual growth rate in GDP over the past decade have pushed it up to third place among the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2), after the U.S. and China.   

But the country also has a unique path toward a greener future. Understanding how this transformation may unfold, and what is distinct to India’s situation, will be key to capturing investment opportunities related to the country’s progress in electrification and power demand growth. 

(https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/climate-investing-health-risks)

Hurricanes, wildfires, heat waves and floods—all made worse by a warming climate—are impacting the global economy, damaging property and infrastructure, decreasing crop yields, affecting tourism and more. In the U.S. alone, the historic number of weather- and climate-related disasters in 2023 resulted in record-breaking costs of $92.9 billion. Yet beyond this visible devastation lies a quieter, and potentially costlier, threat: the impact on human health.  

The U.S. already incurs more than $820 billion each year for hospitalizations, injuries, medical treatments, mental health conditions and lost wages linked to air pollution and climate change. 

As extreme weather events become more intense and frequent, so too will the risks of respiratory illness, heat stroke, infectious disease through contaminated water and food sources, malnutrition and debris-related injuries—all of which will drive up health-related costs.

Morgan Stanley sees a critical need for investors to help mitigate the root causes of climate-related health risks, as well as investor appetite to do so. In a recent survey by Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing, individual investors ranked climate action and health care as their top two sustainable investment themes globally. This signals a unique market opportunity to boost investments in preventive and sustainable solutions at the intersection of climate and health care. 

Three specific investment areas stand out:

  1. nature-based solutions
  2. infrastructure resilience
  3. equitable access to care. 

(https://www.ib.barclays/our-insights/3-point-perspective/will-green-investment-speed-up-swerve-or-slow-down-post-election.html)

US legislation meant to encourage the economy's green transition is boosting clean tech investment. But with the US elections on the horizon, could a shift in the political landscape change trajectory? Our Research team explores potential outcomes.

In recent years, the Biden administration worked with Congress to enact a series of laws – such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – to encourage the US economy’s green transition, providing government subsidies for and incentives to invest in clean energy technologies.

The future trajectory of that policy – and the transition more broadly – could change as a result of the upcoming 2024 elections. Former President Donald Trump has promised to revisit at least some of these policies, should he win the presidential election in November.

BarCap's independent Research analysts consider the possibility of these laws’ future, post November 2024.

(https://www.osmosisim.com/uploads/2024/05/9caa4d030621e40c08da2103a77a4948/sustainability-stewardship-report-2023.pdf)

Osmosis Investment Management: Sustainability & Stewardship Report 2023

Osmosis Investment Management's latest report covers key areas including:

  • Investment approach
  • Active ownership & stewardship 
  • Governance

(https://www.jsafrasarasin.com/content/dam/jsafrasarasin/company/bank-annual-report/bjss_annual_report_2023_en.pdf.coredownload.inline.pdf)

The Sustainability Report 2023 captures the Group’s endeavours in integrating sustainable practices throughout its business model and re flects its commitment to long-term business success while contributing to global sustainability.

(https://www.eticasgr.com/download/impact-report-2023-engl?wpdmdl=49778)

Etica's Impact Report is based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), defined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Key aspects of the report include:

  • Investment approach
  • Highlights
  • Climate change 
  • Focus on green bonds
  • Public utility and health
  • Decent work and social development 
  • Responsible production

(https://www.hermes-investment.com/uk/en/institutions/eos-insight/stewardship/eos-stewardship-report-2023/)

2023 was another turbulent year for the global economy as inflation, rising interest rates, tight labour markets and geopolitical shocks fuelled uncertainty. It was also the year in which the impact of climate change was writ even larger with catastrophic flooding across 10 countries in 12 days, the hottest ocean temperatures ever recorded, heatwaves that scorched the entire Northern Hemisphere, and the worst drought in 40 years across the Horn of Africa. At the same time, the energy ‘trilemma’ that defined 2022 – managing climate risks while ensuring energy security and affordable access to energy – continued.

Encouragingly, the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of August 2022 spurred renewable energy and clean tech investment, and energy prices eased in many markets. This helped to reduce inflationary pressures, although the cost of living crisis persisted in many markets. This series of environmental and macroeconomic challenges reinforced the focus of our advocacy and stewardship activities in 2023.

Geopolitical tensions also remained heightened in 2023, with no sign of an end to the war in Ukraine and the destabilisation of the Middle East through the conflict in Israel and Gaza. Against this backdrop, we continued to engage with companies on how they address the geopolitical risks facing their businesses and their approach to safeguarding human rights in high-risk regions.

This report describes Federated Hermes' stewardship work during 2023 and the outcomes of these activities. We have followed the structure of the UK Stewardship Code, reporting principle by principle to communicate our policies, processes, activities and outcomes to clients and wider stakeholders. They outline our engagement, voting recommendations, public policy, screening and advisory work carried out on behalf of our clients.

Building on last year’s reporting, we have provided an update on the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategy and the formation of six core DE&I project groups; insights into our engagement approach on worker rights and benefits and the importance of a just transition; highlights of the latest operational enhancements to our client portal; and a detailed update on our work with Climate Action 100+. Examples and case studies are provided throughout to demonstrate how our approach works in practice.

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