Weekly ESG News: Financial Services and Insurance Industry
News in the spotlight: AI-powered data startup ESG Flo raised $5.25m in seed round
ESG Flo, an AI-powered data infrastructure platform, has successfully raised $5.25 million in seed capital. The funding round was led by Rho Ignition and Tola Capital, with participation from Bain & Company and Contour Venture Partners. ESG Flo aims to streamline the collection and management of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) data by leveraging AI automation and deep learning. Their goal is to help businesses create accurate ESG data for integrated reporting and responsible decision-making. The funds will be used to expand the platform, hire engineers, and scale its growth and marketing team, with several new board members joining the company.
Weekly Sustainable Finance Newsletter 44/2023
ESG News of the last week in detail
Products and Services
Fidelity launches climate focused fixed income ETFs
Fidelity International has introduced two new fixed-income ETFs, the Fidelity Sustainable EUR Corporate Bond Paris Aligned Multifactor UCITS ETF and Fidelity Sustainable USD Corporate Bond Paris Aligned Multifactor UCITS ETF, in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals to combat climate change. Consequently, these ETFs focus on sustainable investments, benchmarked against the Solactive Euro Corporate IG PAB Index and the Solactive USD Corporate IG PAB Index, aligning with the 1.5°C scenario until 2050. Furthermore, they exclude companies involved in fossil fuels, tobacco, controversial weaponry, and UN Global Compact violations. Fidelity has been expanding its sustainable offerings in response to growing demand for environmentally conscious financial solutions.
Morgan Stanley accelerates investments of its climate private equity strategy
Huel, a sustainable nutrition brand, has entered into a strategic partnership with Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s (MSIM) 1GT climate private equity strategy. The collaboration aims to enhance Huel’s sustainability agenda and expand globally. The 1GT strategy aligns with Huel’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and achieving “Net Zero” by 2050. Huel reported significant revenue growth in FY22, and its environmentally friendly approach has garnered investor support.
Schroders launches two sustainability-focused equity funds
Schroders has introduced two sustainability-focused equity funds as part of its Global Transformation Range. The Schroder ISF Circular Economy fund aims to invest in companies contributing to a circular economy, disconnecting economic growth from resource consumption. The Schroder ISF Sustainable Infrastructure fund focuses on sustainable global infrastructure assets, supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals. Both funds are Article 9 funds under the EU’s SFDR.
ESG Data and Analytics
AI-powered data startup ESG Flo raised $5.25m in seed round
ESG Flo, an AI-powered data infrastructure platform, has successfully raised $5.25 million in seed capital. The funding round was led by Rho Ignition and Tola Capital, with participation from Bain & Company and Contour Venture Partners. ESG Flo aims to streamline the collection and management of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) data by leveraging AI automation and deep learning. Additionally, their goal is to help businesses create accurate ESG data for integrated reporting and responsible decision-making. The funds will be used to expand the platform, hire engineers, and scale its growth and marketing team, with several new board members joining the company
FII Institute and ESG Book launch ESG tool and scores for emerging markets
The FII Institute has introduced the Inclusive ESG Tool and Score, designed to help emerging market companies improve their sustainability efforts and assist global investors in identifying ESG performance leaders in these markets. The Inclusive ESG Tool provides real-time ESG insights on emerging market companies, while the Inclusive ESG Score emphasizes industry risk, transparency, and performance differentiation. It includes the Inclusive ESG Momentum Score to indicate future ESG performance. These tools are valuable for investors, asset managers, wealth managers, banks, insurance companies, asset owners, and private equity investors.
CRISIL launches Certified ESG Risk Analyst program
CRISIL offers an online, self-paced ESG certification program designed to meet the growing demand for professionals with expertise in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analysis and sustainability practices. The program consists of 7 modules with a total of 30 learning hours and is open to individuals with a bachelor’s degree and at least 50% marks or an equivalent cumulative grade point average. The registration fee is Rs 14,000 (excluding GST), with an additional examination fee of Rs 2,000 (excluding GST) per attempt. Exams are conducted online and proctored, with testing available quarterly. This program can be a valuable resource for those looking to make a positive impact in the ESG space.
Regulatory and Law
CFA Institute, GSIA and PRI announce harmonized definitions for sustainable investin
CFA Institute, GSIA, and PRI have jointly released a resource to establish consistent definitions for responsible investment terminology, including screening, ESG integration, thematic investing, stewardship, and impact investing. This effort is aimed at providing clarity and precision in communication within the investment industry, addressing concerns about greenwashing. The collaboration was prompted by regulatory calls for standardized terms to ensure uniformity in the global asset management and wealth management sectors. The new definitions encompass a broader range of investment styles and asset classes, emphasizing their practical application. This initiative is expected to benefit professionals, investors, regulators, and market participants.
Net Zero / Decarbonization Commitments
CalPERS aims to double climate assets by 2030
At the meeting on November 13, CalPERS staff will brief the investment committee on the investment team’s goal to achieve net zero by 2030. This plan involves almost doubling the value of assets in climate solutions investments to $100 billion by that time. The plan of CalPERS calls for new investments to be made in a variety of asset classes in areas such as mitigation, adaptation, and moving away from fossil fuel investments.If companies continuously fail to provide a credible net-zero plan or make investments in the energy transition over time, CalPERS may go beyond engagement and underweight or withdraw from an investment in a security.