Daily ESG Briefing: CPPIB under fire for Chinese coal investments

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has been criticised by climate advocates for investing C$141m in Chinese coal companies. Adam Scott, Director of Toronto-based Shift Action told local media the investments were “completely offside with all of Canada’s climate commitments”, adding: “It’s a red flag for Canadians to be worried about their pension savings.” CPPIB recently increased its engagement with climate change by unveiling a new sustainability policy.

A decarbonisation project backed by pension funds APG, GPIF and PGGM, as well as Norges Bank Investment Management and the European Commission, has announced the results of its public consultation phase. The final pathways for the Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor identify annual energy and carbon intensity trajectories for real estate that are aligned with the Paris Agreement. They will be regularly updated to ensure the latest data is leveraged. 

Société Générale has been accused of releasing “a misleading coal phase out policy” by pressure group Reclaim Finance. The investment bank recently published the measures it plans to take to exit the coal sector by 2030 in EU and OECD nations and 2040 for the rest of the world; however, Reclaim Finance argues that these measures do not cover the financing subsidiaries of corporations active in the coal sector, meaning Soc Gen may continue financing some of the world’s biggest coal producers.

Investec has become the first South African bank to release a separate financial disclosures report aligned with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. The report, ‘Climate Related Financial Disclosures’, provides shareholders with a breakdown of the bank’s fossil fuel exposure.  The bank has also tabled a climate risk-related shareholder resolution in its 2020 Notice of AGM, which will be voted on at the company's AGM on 6 August.

Allison Herren Lee, Commissioner at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, admitted it has “a problem” when it comes to “disparities in access to capital for women and people of colour”, while addressing its Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee. Commissioner Lee also suggested potential ways in which the SEC can positively contribute to changing this: outreach, greater representation, and review of policy and rulemaking.

Germany’s energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur has launched tenders for the reduction of coal-based electricity generation in hard coal and small-scale lignite plants, equating to the decommissioning of 4,000 megawatts of electrical power. The first bidding date is set for September 1, 2020.