Daily ESG Briefing: CalPERS seeking research providers for climate risk and diversity & inclusion studies

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Californian pension fund CalPERS is looking for providers to help it “in sourcing and evaluating research related to climate change risk and human capital management [including diversity and inclusion]”. According to a Request for Information, the scheme wants to produce curated and peer-reviewed research to help it ensure its investment decisions “are grounded on cutting-edge, evidence-based economic insights”. Applications are open for 60 days. 

The European Parliament is on the hunt for a research to look into the impact of major new legislation on due diligence in company supply chains. The rules are set to move forward in 2021, and seek to increase transparency around human rights and environmental performance, and bolster accountability among EU firms and investors. Applications for the €15,000 study close on December 18. 

Lyda Hill Philanthropies and the Water Funder Initiative have provided seed funding to a new non-profit platform called the Water Finance Exchange, which aims to increase investment in ageing US water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as help meet the growing needs and funding gaps of small and mid-sized utilities across the country.

A French chapter of the World Economic Forum-supported Climate Governance Initiative will launch today. Chapter Zero France hopes to mobilise non-executive directors at French companies to climate change in decision making and help shift their firms towards Net Zero by 2050. Other national chapters of the global scheme, originally launched in 2019, include the UK, Italy, Malaysia, Switzerland, Russia, France, Brazil, and Canada.

Exxon Mobil said this week that it plans to write down between $17bn – $20bn of natural gas assets in the Americas as part of an “increased focus on monetization of less strategic assets to grow the portfolio of potential divestments”. 

The CEO of South Korea's sovereign-wealth fund, the Korea Investment Corp (KIC), said that the fund’s ESG investments have beaten the MSCI All Country World Index benchmark in a recent interview. Last month, the $157bn KIC joined the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund to further bolster its climate change efforts and also pledged its support for the TCFD recommendations, the country’s first institutional investor to do so.

The Natural Capital Coalition has launched a consultation on its report into the use of natural capital approaches in achieving biodiversity policy objectives. Comments are open until 23rd December. The network, which comprises 370 organisations that aim to conserve natural capital, will provide an updated version of the report in Spring next year.

Asian electric utilities need to ramp up their efforts to integrate climate risk into their business strategies and operations, according to a new report by the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change. Alongside Investor Expectations of Asian Electric Utilities Companies – Crossover to Net Zero, the network is launching a new investor engagement programme that will run in parallel to similar efforts by Climate Action 100+, focused on Asian electric utilities on climate change.