Daily ESG Briefing: BP falls out with Follow This over details of climate resolution

The latest developments in sustainable finance

BP has abandoned its pioneering collaboration with campaign group Follow This after attempts to co-write a climate resolution collapsed. Follow This agreed to withdraw its climate proposal last year in order to work with BP on the wording of one that would be put to shareholders this year with the oil major’s backing. But the partnership has broken down following a disagreement as to whether BP can increase emissions to 2030 and still be aligned with Paris. BP is now recommending that shareholders vote against Follow This’ proposal, which calls for Paris aligned emission targets, including those from BP’s products.

Seven major asset managers have now shunned a planned Initial Public Offering by Deliveroo over workers’ rights. BMO Global Asset Management, Hargreaves Lansdown, M&G and the CCLA have joined Aberdeen Standard Investments, Legal & General Investment Management and Aviva Investors in refusing to take part in the upcoming offering, through which the food delivery company is expected to raise up to £9bn by listing on the London Stock Exchange. Deliveroo’s riders are classed as self-employed, meaning they are not entitled to a minimum wage, holiday or sick pay.

PwC’s 24th annual survey of UK CEOs shows that almost a third are not concerned about the effects of climate change on growth, but 60% plan to increase their long-term ESG investments over the next three years. The survey also found that just under half of the CEOs surveyed thought that climate change should be a top-three government priority.

UK fashion retailer Boohoo has published a list of its suppliers following a scandal last year in which employees in its UK supply chain were found to be earning far below the minimum wage. Alongside the publication, Boohoo has also launched its new sustainability strategy, which seeks to improve its performance in manufacturing, emissions and supply.

US state treasurers and trustees of California public pension giants CalPERS and CalSTRS are among those to support calls for major companies to cease donations to any Georgian lawmaker pursuing bills that will result in the suppression of votes by people of colour. A campaign led by NGO Majority Action and US union SEIU, saw letters sent to firms including Coca Cola, UPS, Home Depot, Southern Company and Delta Air Lines, which were signed by investors linked to funds worth around $1trn. “I am hoping that these corporations, these iconic brands, will speak out forcefully against these racially motivated attacks on voting rights in Georgia,” said Aaron Ammons, Trustee of Illinois State University Retirement System.

A group of Harvard students have written to the Massachusetts Attorney General, claiming that the university’s fossil fuel investments might be illegal on the basis they allegedly violate the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, which governs how nonprofits can spend their endowment funds. The group claims that financing firms that have been involved in disinformation campaigns and lobbying around climate change violates Harvard’s mission statement to achieve “a more just, fair, and promising world”, as well as presenting physical risk to the University’s property.

The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the federal government on carbon pricing, overruling a legal challenge from the oil-rich provinces of Alberta and Sakatchewan, as well as the Conservative-run Ontario. The Canadian government introduced legislation in 2018 requiring all provinces to establish a carbon tax or market, and threatened to impose a tax on provinces that failed to do so. The legal challenge argued that the rules were unconstitutional. Elsewhere, the American Petroleum Institute has come out in favour of a US carbon price after reportedly helping to sink a bill under the Obama Administration that would have introduced one.

The revenue, profits and capitalisation of 70 publicly-listed Japanese companies exposed to seafood have gone up, despite overfishing and climate change causing a drop in fish stocks, according to a report by Planet Tracker. The Against the Tide report analysed almost 800 data points relating to the 70 companies, concluding that “investors have implicitly rewarded Japanese seafood companies for using management strategies to offset the impact on their business of depleting natural capital assets, rather than for ensuring those assets stop being degraded.”