Daily ESG Briefing: Border to Coast re-tenders MSCI climate and ESG data mandate

The latest developments in sustainable finance

UK public pension fund Border to Coast has put out a tender for ESG and climate data. "We are seeking a data provider that can help enhance the integration, monitoring, and reporting requirements of ESG factors across the wide range of asset classes in which we invest,” Jane Firth, Head of Responsible Investing at the £46bn pension pool, told RI. “This includes the provision of ESG and carbon data and research, scenario analysis, and supporting our reporting against regulation, voluntary initiatives, and industry standards.” MSCI is the pool’s current data vendor, and has been invited to rebid when its contract ends later this year. The new contract’s value has not been disclosed.

Harvard University will no longer invest its endowment in fossil fuels, said Harvard President Laurence Bacow yesterday. Currently, the university has no direct exposure to fossil fuel exploration or development companies as of June, leaving its only exposure to the sector via legacy investments as a limited partner in private equity funds. These investments constitute less than 2% of the endowment and will end as the partnerships are liquidated.

‘Big four’ financial services firm KPMG has pledged to increase the representation of staff from working class backgrounds in its UK operations. The firm is aiming for a third of its partners and directors to be from a working class background, which KPMG defines as having parental occupations like receptionists, electricians, plumbers, butchers and van drivers. Currently 23% of KPMG's partners and 20% of its directors meet the criteria, with working class representation across KPMG’s board at 22%, falling to 14% in its executive committee.

The UK Sustainable Investment Forum is backing proposals by the Financial Conduct Authority to introduce mandatory climate reporting, aligned to the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, for listed companies, insurers and pension providers. However, UKSIF highlighted concerns over the compliance costs which will need to be borne by smaller firms.

Daniel Wild, Global Head of ESG Strategy at Credit Suisse, has told Bloomberg that ESG ratings houses need more oversight. In an interview, Wild said: “It makes a lot of sense to put more pressure on the quality of these ratings, on the transparency of the ratings… At least you want to know why a rating ended up where it did, and what their underlying assumptions were.”