Weekly ESG News: Financial Services and Insurance Industry
Weekly ESG News by Sustainable Finance Daily provide you with all relevant sustainable finance information of the last week. We cover the Insurance- and Financial Services Industry. No sign-up or mail address required. Beside other important events, FTSE Russell launched the FTSE UK ESG Risk-Adjusted Index Series.
Weekly Sustainable Finance Newsletter 20/2023
ESG News of the last week in detail
Products and Service
FTSE Russell launched the FTSE UK ESG Risk-Adjusted Index Series
As part of the ongoing growth of its multi-asset ESG and Climate index product portfolio, FTSE Russell announced this week the launch of the FTSE UK ESG Risk-Adjusted Index Series. The UK ESG Risk-Adjusted Index Series implements a variety of exclusions. Furthermore, it greatly reduces the Index’s exposure to carbon emissions and reserves (versus the underlying benchmark), and shifts the universe’s weights in favor of businesses with superior ESG traits. Read more here.
Schroders launches Carbon Offset Share Classes
Last week, Schroders announced the introduction of share classes for carbon offsets. Customers will have the option to choose to offset the carbon emissions linked to their underlying fund holdings thanks to this innovation. The Schroder International Selection Fund (SISF) Global Climate Leaders, which invests in businesses that demonstrate “climate change leadership,” will offer these share classes. The asset manager will make sure the offsets it buys are equal to the portfolio firms’ Scope 1 and 2 emissions attributable to the share class. Read more here.
Santander and EIB Group will mobilize €162 million in financing to increase energy efficiency of buildings
Santander will be able to finance new energy efficiency initiatives for a sum of €162 million. EIB Group will provide up to €81 million unfunded guarantees as part of the transaction. Eligible projects might get a maximum of €12.5 million in funding for a duration of minimum two years.
Venture Capital firms saw a boom in clean energy startup investments
Over the past three years, the total amount of VC funding for clean energy startups has grown significantly from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $12.3 billion in 2022. Higher-than-average deal sizes and individual mega investments of more than $500 million apiece have contributed to the growth in fundraising. Between 2019 and 2021, the average deal size more than tripled from $17 million to $53 million. Read more here.
Morgan Stanley IM closes Private Equity Strategy at $500mn of capital commitments
A first close for the 1GT Climate Private Equity Strategy (1GT) took place last week with capital commitments totaling $500 million. Among the investors are insurance companies from the Nordics, Germany, and the UK, as well as governmental and private pension funds. All investee companies will contribute to avoid or remove one gigaton of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) emissions from the Earth’s atmosphere by 2050. Investments focus on private enterprises across the mobility, energy, sustainable food and agriculture as well as circular economy themes. Read more here.
Cazenove Capital lays out voting best practice for asset managers
Cazenove Capital, a wealth manager owned by Schroders, sent letters to 93 asset managers (£30 trillion in assets) outlining its stance on best practices for voting at annual general meetings. Cazenove recommended six voting best practices in the letter. The six principles comprise publishing voting policies and voting records, committing to voting on resolutions, and publicly preclearing of voting information. In addition, an emphasis is put on using votes to support ESG shareholder resolutions, using voting as a form of escalation and potentially against company directors in case companies are climate laggards. Read more here.
ESG Data and Analytics
ERM and Planet collaborate to help organizations harness satellite data
With the highest frequency satellite data commercially accessible, Planet Labs and ERM have announced a new cooperation agreement. Through this new partnership, ERM will increase the number of use cases, apps, and reporting capabilities for its clients. Read more here.
Sustainable Finance Leadership Announcements
AXA Investment Managers announced the appointment of Marie Luchet as Head of ESG & Sustainability
Marie Luchet was appointed as Head of ESG and Sustainability at AXA IM Prime last week. She will report to Pascal Christory, the CEO of AXA IM Prime. In order to advance ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) integration in investment decision-making, fund and asset manager selection, as well as in the reporting and product design, Marie Luchet will be in charge of over-seeing AXA IM Prime’s sustainability strategy.
Legal & General Capital appoints Julia Goldsworthy as Head of Social Impact Investment
Announcing the appointment of Julia Goldsworthy as its Head of Social Impact Investment, Legal & General Capital affirms its longterm commitment to fostering positive change through impact-led investing that satisfies regional and global social and environmental needs.
Climate Action 100+ drafts standard for diversified mining
The Net Zero Standard for Diversified Mining has been created by Climate Action 100+, the largest investor engagement project on climate change. Investors will be able to evaluate diversified mining firms’ advancement toward net zero. The Standard will offer a clear, organized, and data-supported mechanism so that the Climate Action 100+ signatories have measurements unique to this significant but complicated industry. The final version of the draft standard is expected to be published in Q3 2023.
Shareholders call on JPMorgan Chase to disclose a Climate Transition Plan
As You Sow filed a first-time shareholder resolution urging JPMorgan Chase to present a workable climate transition plan describing how it would reach its 2030 net zero greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Last week, JPMorgan Chase announced the final voting results. 35% of shareholders voted in favor of the proposal. This vote comes after similar calls received support at Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. Read more here.
Barclays and Morgan Stanley take the lead in CO2 deal
The efforts to quantify and disclose the carbon footprint of the indus-try’s capital markets operations have been delayed for months. A group of banks, led by Barclays and Morgan Stanley, is working on a compromise plan to break the impasse. Any agreement would be a significant development for climate funding. The main reason climate accounting has thus far concentrated on direct lending is that assign-ing responsibility for so-called facilitated enabled through debt and equity underwriting, is still a contentious topic.
ESG News about Green Bonds and Sustainability-linked Bond Issuances
Australia Post’s inaugural sustainability bond raises A$100m
Australia Post has placed its first-ever sustainability bond of A$100 million ($66.3 mil-lion), which focuses on both social and environmental issues. The six-year bond was oversubscribed with orders from Australian and Asian investors on May 15, 2023. The money raised will be used to help Australia Post to carry out its 2025 Sustainability Roadmap and community strategy after being issued through the Australian Medium-Term Note (AMTN) program.