governance in brief

Governance in Brief – March 31, 2022

Evergrande discloses USD 2.1 billion cash seizure China Evergrande Group has established an independent committee to investigate a USD 2 billion hole in the accounts of its primary operating subsidiary, Evergrande Property Services. While preparing its FY2021 accounts, the subsidiary discovered that a group of undisclosed banks had seized RMB 13.4 billion (USD 2.1 billion) of its deposits, approximately equivalent to its cash holdings as of June 2021, as security for third-party pledge guarantees.

Looking at ESG in Crypto, Blockchain, and Public Equities

Beyond the volatile crypto market, blockchain has several features that lend well to commercial applications. Blockchain can help improve the transparency, speed and efficiency of data transfers and monetary transactions. Businesses in multiple industries are using blockchain tools to enhance payment platforms and secure supply chain management systems. Sustainalytics’ latest Thematic Research report, An ESG Lens on Blockchain and Public Equities, surveys ESG risks and opportunities related to applications of blockchain technology that are being developed by listed companies across multiple sectors of the economy.

Ukraine Oil and Gas

Russia, ESG Risks in Energy, and Corporate Citizenship

As the unprecedented situation in Ukraine continues to unfold, Russia’s energy industry has remained remarkably untouched by the waves of sanctions currently being deployed against the country, despite being arguably its most important sector. While the European Union and its allies have been cautious to avoid disrupting energy flows (unlike how sanctions are currently disrupting the flow of capital), international oil companies are responding to the crisis in their own capacity.

blockchain report

An ESG Lens on Blockchain and Public Equities - Thematic Research Report

The investment risks and opportunities associated with blockchain go beyond the volatile cryptocurrency market, with applications ranging from enhanced payment platforms and contract execution to supply chain management and carbon tracking systems.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – March 24, 2022

Shell directors face legal action over climate change Environmental law charity ClientEarth is preparing legal action against the directors of Shell over the company's climate transition plan. ClientEarth wishes, in its capacity as a shareholder, to hold the directors personally liable for having breached their legal duties by mismanaging climate risk.

Listen to the latest episode of the Sustainalytics Podcast | Aligning Executive Action to Strategy With Sustainability-Linked Compensation

What's Happening in Sustainable Finance: ESG Market Continues Rapid Growth, Climate Risks Top WEF List, and More

We’re seeing rapid growth and diversification in the ESG market, with companies increasingly using sustainable bonds, loans, and deposits to finance emissions reductions, renewable energy, waste and water management, transition plans, and more.

Water-Related Risks and Challenges

Water-Related Risks and Challenges

This report sheds light on the growing effects of water scarcity on companies and countries. To address these challenges, investors can use water reporting metrics to identify companies and countries with severe water risk. We further relate water metrics to firm and country characteristics and highlight substantial cross-sectional differences.

View our ESG Beginner's Checklist: Action Items on Overcoming Common Obstacles

ESG Beginner's Checklist: Action Items on Overcoming Common Obstacles

Discover some of the obstacles ESG leaders face in the early stages of their journey toward sustainability — and what you can about them—in this checklist. Is your company dealing with limited human resources, overwhelming ESG information, inconsistent communication with stakeholders, understanding the competitive landscape, or funding your ESG program?

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – March 17, 2022

SEC proposes heightened cybersecurity risk disclosure The U.S. SEC has proposed amendments to existing rules on public companies’ disclosure of cybersecurity, risk management, strategy, governance, and incident reporting. The amendments would, inter alia, require public companies to report on material cybersecurity incidents and periodic updates on past incidents, as well as the companies’ policies and procedures on cybersecurity risk management, board oversight of cybersecurity risks and directors’ cybersecurity expertise. SEC Chair Gary Gensler issued a statement in support of the amendments, considering cybersecurity an emerging risk that must be addressed by public companies. Gensler stated that standardized and periodic cybersecurity risk disclosure would enable investors to assess cybersecurity risks more effectively. SEC Commissioner Hester Price released a dissenting statement arguing the proposed rules would pressure companies to “adapt[] their existing policies and procedures to the Commission’s preferred approach”, while noting that securities regulators are not “best suited to design cybersecurity programs.”

Key Themes Shaping Proxy Voting in 2022

Key Themes Shaping Proxy Voting in 2022

As the volume and breadth of ESG risk exposure continue to rise, the stage is set for another momentous proxy season. The trending topics of last year will continue to steer the agenda—with the prospect of even more substantial support from shareholders in 2022.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – March 10, 2022

Toshiba CEO resigns amid internal opposition to planned reorganization Satoshi Tsunakawa has unexpectedly resigned from his post as Toshiba CEO, amid alleged internal opposition to the restructuring plan that will be put to vote at an upcoming March 24 EGM. Tsunakawa will stay on as interim Chairman, while senior executive Taro Shimada has taken over as interim CEO. Additionally, Toshiba has appointed two new executives.

jantzi

Michael Jantzi on Global Sustainability Standards: Convergence and the Future | ICGN

Michael Jantzi, managing director at Morningstar and Sustainalytics founder, shares his perspective on the state of convergence on sustainability reporting standards globally.

Frequently Asked Questions on What ESG Means for Companies

Frequently Asked Questions on What ESG Means for Companies

In this FAQ, we’ve answered several key questions to help companies like yours understand what ESG means for you in practice.

cocoa farming

The Sustainability Conundrum of Living Income in Agriculture

Living Income is a crucial consideration among leading companies across some sectors and their supplier companies throughout the agricultural and food supply chain. Companies that manage ESG risk in their supply chains, making targeted investments to improve their resilience, are better positioned to build investor confidence.

Women seated around a boardroom table - A Call For Progress on DEI

Answering the Call for Progress: How Companies Can Respond to Investor Demands on DEI

In this blog post we share what companies can do to communicate their progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to investors and other key stakeholders, particularly with respect to gender diversity and advancing women’s socio-economic status.

gender diversity japan international womens day

Gender Diversity of Corporate Leadership in Japan

Over the past decade, the world has made progress in reducing the gender gap in education, health, economic resources and political participation. Some countries, however, are still lagging—including Japan.

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.

governance in brief

Governance in Brief – March 3, 2022

McDonald’s faces proxy fight over pig treatment Activist investor Carl Icahn has nominated two candidates to the McDonald’s board, in a proxy fight over the firm’s treatment of pigs. Icahn, who owns 200 shares of McDonald’s stock, also requests that the fast-food giant source its meat from crate-free pork suppliers within a specific timeframe.

What is ESG and Why Is it Important for Risk Management?

What is ESG and Why It's Important for Risk Management

This blog post explains what is ESG, including basic ESG concepts, ESG scores and ratings, and why companies of all sizes need ESG risk management.

Shanghai skyline | China's Burgeoning Green Bond Market

China’s Burgeoning Green Bond Market: Developments, Characteristics, and Outlook

Insights on China's growing green bond market, including recent developments, key characteristics, and expectations for the world's second largest market.