Daily ESG Briefing: Climate Bonds Initiative say ‘offsets don’t count’ towards credible transition plans

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The Climate Bonds Initiative has said that “offsets don’t count” when green bond issuers are developing “ambitious” climate transition plans. "Credible transition goals and pathways don't count offsets, but should count upstream scope 3 emissions,"  the not-for-profit said as it released five principles that issuers should adopt when developing climate plans. It added that all goals and pathways should be aligned with 1.5 degrees and backed by scientific evidence and operational metrics rather than pledges.

ShareAction has released a ‘best practice’ ESG report for asset managers, which includes a checklist of leading ESG practices and examples of their implementation across the areas of governance, climate change, human and labour rights, and biodiversity. Examples of leading practices include TCFD-aligned disclosure and supporting the creation of better quality data. While the report does include case studies of firms applying these practices well, it says that “current leading practice is still a world away from what is needed of the sector”.

The Royal Bank of Canada has pledged to mobilise C$500bn in sustainable finance between now and 2025, having reached its initial target of C$100bn in 2020. The Bank also committed to Net Zero lending by 2050 and net zero emissions from its global operations by 2025. It will join the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials and the Centre for Climate-aligned Finance, as well as producing TCFD-aligned reports from 2022.

Standard Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are among 25 banks under pressure over their involvement in the controversial East African Crude Oil Pipeline. More than 250 civil society organisations penned an open letter to the banks today, which they claim either advise the project or have provided financing to its developers, Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. The letter warns that the pipeline would endanger local communities, water supplies and biodiversity across four east African countries. 

The Singapore Stock Exchange has told real estate investor Emerging Towns and Cities Singapore (ETC) to respond to allegations it uses the stock exchange to raise funds for Myanmar’s Office of the Quartermaster General. A report by campaign group Justice for Myanmar claims that as the main investor in the Golden City real estate development, ETC is responsible for making a $6.8m ‘land use premium’ payment to the military, as well as annual payments of $2.8m. The Myanmar military unlawfully seized power in the country at the start of February, and has widely been accused of committing genocide against the Rohingya muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Edinburgh University has completed its fossil-fuel divestment one year ahead of schedule, removing all direct and pooled investments in companies involved in the extraction and production of fossil fuels. The University has invested more than £170m in low-carbon businesses and climate-related research since 2020.

The International Federation of Accountants and the International Integrated Reporting Council have launched a new initiative to promote assurance measures for integrated reporting, in order to bolster the reliability of sustainability-related corporate disclosures.