Daily ESG Briefing: Amundi and Man Group take on HSBC over climate

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Investment heavyweights Amundi and Man Group have co-filed a proposal at HSBC calling on Europe’s largest bank to outline how it will wind down its fossil fuel financing in line with the Paris Accord. It is only the second climate proposal to be filed at a European bank. The first, which was also coordinated by campaign group Shareaction, was put to Barclays last year. Among the other backers of this year’s proposal are Swedish insurance company Folksam and UK pension pool Brunel Pension Partnership. 

SEI has launched its global investment stewardship strategy that will embed sustainability into shareholder engagement and proxy voting practices across the company’s approximately $248.1bn in assets under management; alongside this, the investment management and solutions provider has joined Climate Action 100+, the investor-led initiative to engage companies whose businesses and operations have an opportunity to mitigate climate change and support the transition to a low-carbon economy. In addition, to achieve its engagement aims, SEI has partnered with Morningstar’s ESG research and analysis firm, Sustainalytics. 

Oil supermajor BP has been revealed to be behind the catastrophic Mauritius oil spill last year, according to Forbes. Newly released documents suggest that BP worked to block the investigation into the disaster and was aided in the cover-up by global shipping regulator, the UN’s International Maritime Organization. Local NGOs estimate that the spill caused the death of nearly 100 whales and dolphins, and that tens of thousands of Mauritians had been exposed to carcinogenic compounds within the oil.

Investors should allocate capital to help close a $598-$824bn gap in funding for biodiversity, says Global Canopy in its Little Book of Investing in Nature, published with support from Agence Française de Développement, Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, Credit Suisse, sustainable trade initiative IDH, the UN and WWF. The book provides guidance to governments and investors on financing biodiversity protection, and highlights more than 40 mechanisms already providing finance for nature and 25 case studies. 

US Senator Elizabeth Warren has written an open letter to outgoing Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, urging him to shelve a vote on upcoming rules requiring “resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to the US federal government or foreign governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals" as it is "grievously flawed". Senator Warren said the current proposals, which were watered down from original plans after lobbying efforts, now fail to tackle corruption and hold firms accountable. “Instead, the SEC’s proposal would make such disclosures so general as to be of little value," she said, pointing out support from investors to have stronger rules on the subject, to enable them to make well-informed investment decisions.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will open its Working Group III’s draft contribution to its upcoming Sixth Assessment Report for a second review by experts from 18 January to 14 March, ahead of a final draft which will be submitted to governments for review.

The Norwegian Government has said it is mulling a threefold increase in its carbon price as part of plans to reduce its emissions by up to 55% by 2030 and 95% by 2050. In an announcement made on Friday, Prime Minister Erna Solberg also said public services may be forced to buy ‘zero emissions’ vehicles only from next year as part of the plans. Critics point out Norway’s role in granting oil licenses that enable the further exploration and use of fossil fuels.