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Daily ESG Briefing: Deadline for Canadian sustainability standards consultation pushed to March

The latest developments in sustainable finance

A government-led consultation on the creation of a Canadian Sustainability Standards Board (CSSB) has been extended by a month to March 31. The consultation is being conducted by the Independent Review Committee on Standard Setting, which includes well-known figures such as Sustainalytics’ CEO Michael Jantzi, and will also review broader national accounting, auditing and assurance standards. The Committee, which was appointed by government accounting oversight bodies, published its proposals in December. Last year, Committee chair Edward Waitzer said that the need for a CSSB “is clearer than ever”.

One fifth of the planned acquisitions in 2022 will be primarily aimed at improving ESG performance, according to a survey from EY on M&A trends. The survey -which compiled responses from over 2,000 CEOs worldwide – also found that six percent of CEOs walked away from deals in the past year due to ESG-related concerns, while 99% of CEOs factored ESG and sustainability into their buying strategies.   

Reforms in the Australian super industry could reportedly challenge the growth of ESG investing, according to Morgan Stanley advisory unit Parametric. Under the new rules, Australian regulators will develop individual benchmarks for each investment product, and products which underperform their benchmarks will face sanctions. However, ESG strategies will often result in some tracking error, which may cause them to be impacted significantly by the reforms, said Parametric analyst Josh Mckenzie.

Singapore universities are under pressure from a student coalition to divest their endowments from fossil fuel companies and cease the appointment of oil and gas executives to their boards. It comes as the Students for a Fossil Free Future group published a report on the links between local universities and the fossil fuel industries. The group said that partnership with universities allowed the fossil fuel sector to “gain broad social acceptance and approval”.  

Geospatial data can be used by financial institutions to independently assess a company’s environmental impact despite the limited availability of asset-level, supply chain and environmental data, according to research by WWF. A report published in partnership with the World Bank found that publicly-accessible data was sufficient for researchers to generate ‘robust insights’ on the environmental impact of mining and agricultural operations in Brazil.

BNP Paribas is perceived as having the best ESG credentials among global banks according to major companies, new research from UK consultancy Impact & Influence has shown. The results were based on interviews with the largest 100 companies in eight countries, including the UK, US, Australia, China and Germany. Other named institutions in the top five included heavyweights Standard Chartered, Citi, JPMorgan and HSBC.