governance in brief

Governance in Brief – July 29, 2021

The Japanese Financial Services Agency released an updated Corporate Governance Code which is focused, inter alia, on board independence, diversity, and sustainability.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – July 22, 2021

Prosus NV shareholders approved a voluntary share exchange offer for parent company Naspers. The deal seeks to decrease both companies’ significant NAV discount, particularly with regard to Prosus’ 28.9% stake in China’s Tencent.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – July 15, 2021

The OECD will review the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance aiming to adapt these “to the post-COVID-19 reality.” The organization noted that the pandemic aggravated structural weaknesses in the “corporate sector” and concluded that strengthening corporate governance should be a priority to promote economic recovery.

EU Taxonomy Developments and the EU’s Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy

On July 6th, the European Commission published its Strategy for Financing the Transition to a Sustainable Economy, the successor of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan, which launched in 2018. The strategy focuses on transforming the financial system and financing transition plans, building on the 2018 Action Plan, which centered on developing the EU Taxonomy, putting in place disclosure regimes, and developing tools for the market to develop sustainable investment solutions and prevent greenwashing.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – July 8, 2021

Sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion’s annual general meeting concluded with the resolution to oust the remuneration committee chairman.

parliament hill ottawa canada

The Mutual Influence of Investors and Government

On issues from voting rights to climate change, the relationship between investors, companies, and governments has never been more dynamic. This has spurred a lively discussion about the impact and appropriate role of these actors in addressing systemic environmental and social issues. An increasingly cited view is that commitments made by businesses and investors are often superficial, and at best, can provide only incremental progress towards addressing the problems we face. Some go further to suggest that sustainable investing has done more harm than good, with the notion that these efforts have provided a false sense of progress and have delayed meaningful government action. This is a worthwhile debate, but my experience over the last eight years in the sustainable investing space has given me a very different perspective.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – July 1st, 2021

Toshiba’s annual general meeting concluded with the resolution to oust the board chairman and an audit committee member after an independent probe into potential vote manipulation.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – June 24, 2021

The Activision Blizzard non-binding say-on-pay resolution was approved during the latest annual general meeting with only a 54% majority.

ESG interconnected

Using Systems Thinking to Avoid ESG Investing Blind Spots

For investors looking to enhance ESG risk management and the long-term impact of sustainability efforts, a systemic approach can help identify interventions that will most effectively mitigate the risk of negative outcomes or divert the chain of events towards a more sustainable trajectory. Typically, this involves moving from single-issue or company-specific tactics to progressively integrate system-level considerations in ESG strategies. Targeting systemic change through active ownership is one way to acknowledge and start unravelling the dynamic web of global challenges.

EU Taxonomy Update

Sustainalytics Weighs in on EU Taxonomy’s State of Flux

On May 7th, the European Commission published draft rules on how corporates and financial institutions should report on their alignment with the EU Taxonomy. The draft rules are laid out in a very technical document and not an easy read. This might explain why certain changes with significant impact on timelines and scope of the EU Taxonomy Regulation have flown under the radar of media and investors. Some of the impacts even escaped the attention of financial market participants responding to the consultation on the rules.

climate litigation Netherlands

What Climate Litigation Means for the Oil & Gas Industry

As the global economy looks towards recovery after being impacted by the pandemic, the oil and gas industry faces a growing wave of shareholder activism and climate litigation due to a heightened focus on an accelerated transition as an indirect impact of the pandemic – painting an increasingly bleak picture for those within the industry.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – June 17, 2021

Netflix ‘s shareholders expressed discontent over the streaming giant’s governance structure and unresponsiveness towards past shareholder proposals.

La pertinence des labels ISR dans le contexte de la SFDR et des mesures de l’AMF contre le greenwashing

Une marée de réglementations liées à l’ESG s’abat sur les investisseurs institutionnels. Avec l’introduction de SFDR et les obligations de publication mises en place par l’AMF, se pose la question d’une possible obsolescence des labels ISR dans la lutte contre le greenwashing. Un phénomène qui inquiète de plus en plus les investisseurs et les régulateurs au vue de la croissance constante du marché des fond ISR. Pendant de nombreuses années, l’industrie s’est auto-régulée en s’accordant sur une définition générale de l’investissement responsable et/ou en se tournant vers les opérateurs de labels pour créer des standards de marché.

EU Flags

EC Taxonomy Delegated Act - Morningstar Comment Letter

Response to EC 7th May 2021 Draft Delegated Regulation, Taxonomy From Morningstar Inc. and Sustainalytics, a Morningstar Company Submitted via the European Commission portal for feedback

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – June 10, 2021

The U.S. SEC will not enforce the changes to its proxy advisory regulations that it adopted in July 2020. Moreover, it will consider “further regulatory action” following a review of both these rules and related guidance documents issued in 2019.

Drill in ocean

Royal Dutch Shell Court Order Shifts Paradigm for Corporate ESG Accountability

On 26 May 2021, the Court of The Hague orders Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) to reduce CO2 emissions to a net 45% by the end of 2030 compared to 2019 through the Group Policy of the Shell Group. The order of a national (Dutch) court demands that a global company (RDS) fulfills its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, although RDS was not a party in that agreement, and there is no legal equivalent in The Netherlands. What are the broader consequences of this order, also globally and for other companies and potentially also other jurisdictions?

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – June 3, 2021

A Dutch court has ordered Royal Dutch Shell (“Shell”) to reduce its CO2 emissions by net 45% by the end of 2030. The lawsuit was filed in April 2019 by NGO Milieudefensie and claims that Shell is “misleading the general public with regard to the (un)sustainability of its policies” and set “insufficient” climate ambitions.

Thematic engagement graphic

Thematic Engagement - The Next Normal

Join Sustainalytics’ Stewardship Services team as they introduce an exciting, future-focused bundle of thematic engagements, The Next Normal.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – June 3, 2021

A Dutch court has ordered Royal Dutch Shell (“Shell”) to reduce its CO2 emissions by net 45% by the end of 2030. The lawsuit was filed in April 2019 by NGO Milieudefensie and claims that Shell is “misleading the general public with regard to the (un)sustainability of its policies” and set “insufficient” climate ambitions.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – May 20, 2021

Mizuho Financial Group, Japan's third largest bank by assets, will cease financing new thermal coal mining projects starting June 1.