Biodiversity loss and climate change call for a nature-positive economy – Stewardship may lead the way
Financial institutions funding the supply chains affected by biodiversity loss stand to lose right alongside farmers, producers and retailers—and so, in turn, do investors. ESG stewardship continues to be a powerful investor instrument to mitigate risks on a changing planet. With growing expectations of double materiality, it is an opportunity for investors to have a greater societal impact and support the transition towards a nature-positive economy.
EU Taxonomy in Limbo - Reporting Alignment of Article 8 and 9 Funds in 2022
For observers of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Strategy, 2022 kicked off with a crack and a bang as the European Commission went ahead with plans to include natural gas and nuclear-related activities as potentially sustainable under their ‘Green Taxonomy’. However, in midst of this furor, seemingly less attention has been paid to other components of the regulation that have quietly taken effect from the 1st of January 2022, presenting their own set of challenges.
3 Reasons to Skill Up and Scale Up ESG Stewardship in 2022
As our clients and the industry at large focus on proactively mitigating risk and capitalizing on this evolving landscape, stewardship will be a key lever for savvy investors—particularly those facing external pressure to divest. Here are the ESG themes we see influencing stewardship priorities this year.
5 Sustainability Themes to Expect in 2022
As we enter 2022, it struck me that VUCA--a concept that originated in the mid-1980s at the U.S. Army War College to describe the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of the world after the Cold War—is still a useful framework to think of where we are now.
For Investors with Ambitions to Lead on Climate Action Post COP26
In the weeks following COP26, investors in the UK and worldwide face a myriad of upcoming climate-related regulations heading towards the implementation phase. In addition, major global coalitions such as the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero have sprung up to attempt to accelerate decarbonization via targeted investment.
COP 26: A Spotlight on Emerging Climate Action Themes for Investors
Reactions to the COP26 Conference and the resulting Glasgow Climate Pact have predictably run the gamut from claims of greenwashing to the celebration of progress in the fight against climate change. Ultimately, any judgement on COP26 may be premature, as the success of the conference will best be measured in time by the extent to which commitments made are put into motion. While we wait to see the concrete actions that materialize, the past two weeks have underscored the importance of several themes that will garner increasing attention and should be considered by sustainable investors.
Momentum Around Principal Adverse Impact Data Remains Strong Despite SFDR Delays
Despite the shifting timelines, we observe that the market momentum around PAIs is not diminishing, quite the contrary. Investors in the scope of the regulation are using the fourth quarter of this year to get acquainted with PAI data and set up their systems. Most investors we speak with want to be prepared in time to be able to monitor PAIs throughout 2022 and adjust their portfolios to boost their PAIs (or rather limit the downside, as these are adverse impact indicators). This means that PAIs may significantly impact stock selection and portfolio construction by fund managers keen to have ‘good’ PAI scores.
SFDR and EU Taxonomy Product Disclosure Rules Finally Released
The publication of these rules marks the end of a prolonged period of uncertainty in the market around final rules and timelines - assuming the RTS will be adopted as-is in a Delegated Act, which turns these rules into regulation. There are several noteworthy aspects to these rules, which we address from our perspective in this article.
The Governance of Killer Robots: What Investors Should Know
The ethical implications of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), often referred to by their dramatic moniker ‘killer robots’, have long been a topic of interest. Until recently, debates about LAWS were relegated as hypothetical, with the technology assumed to be under development and out of reach. Such assumptions may be due for reevaluation, and while a firm conclusion is yet to be drawn, it is worthwhile presenting them to the ESG investment community.
ESG Risks of Aging Pipelines for U.S. Energy Infrastructure Investors
Pipelines play a critical role in the U.S energy infrastructure transporting natural gas, crude oil, natural gas liquids, petroleum, and petrochemical products. While these pipelines play a vital role in supporting the U.S economy, investors are increasingly scrutinizing pipeline operators' long-term economic profitability and sustainability practices. A closer look into the status of pipelines reveals a particular issue that investors need to consider.
Delays, Questions and Confusion: Updates on the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation
In this blog, we look at the delay of the level 2 regulation, some aspects of the Q&A, and the ongoing confusion and divergence around SFDR. We pay special attention to the potential impact of the Principle Adverse Impact indicators, an element of SFDR.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
New Draft Disclosure Rules Change Timelines and Scope of EU Taxonomy
In recent months, a lot has been said and written about the EU Taxonomy, the green classification system of economic activities that aims to drive capital flows to sustainable investments supporting the EU’s policy goals on climate and the environment. Political, corporate, and civil society lobbying reached its peak when the EU published draft rules last December, which deviated substantially from expert recommendations. However, the latest draft delegated act with rules on Taxonomy reporting published by the European Commission on May 7th has received far less attention even though some of the proposed changes affect the practical implementation timelines as well as the scope and ambition of the regulation.
Les points communs entre la réglementation française et européenne en matière d’ISR
Quand les nouvelles réglementations sur les investissements durables et responsables (ISR) furent annoncées avec le « EU Action Plan », les institutionnels français n'ont pas cillé. Depuis l'accord de Paris en 2015, de nombreuses nouvelles obligations réglementaires liées à la publication d’information et à l’analyse ESG ont influencé les stratégies d’investissements responsables des institutionnels français. Le règlement SFDR qui est entré en vigueur le 10 mars dernier vient s’ajouter au cadre réglementaire local en matière de reporting.
EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation: An Update
Update - 3 March, 2021: To help investors comply with the new requirements of the SFDR, Sustainalytics launched the PAI Data Solution that maps our research to the 60 indicators defined by the regulator. This new dataset will enable investors to consider the PAIs in their investment decisions as well as supporting disclosure requirements. Visit our website to learn how we can help with you SFDR compliance journey.