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Daily ESG Briefing: Dutch pension fund invests €1.5bn using sustainable emerging markets index

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Dutch pension fund Pensioenfonds Detailhandel has invested €1.5bn in line with a new sustainable emerging markets equities index developed in partnership with FTSE Russell and BlackRock – repeating a collaboration that created a similar index for the €28bn pension pot’s developed markets equity portfolio, last year. The new emerging markets index, which is designed to align with “aspects” of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, will see Pensioenfonds Detailhandel’s carbon emissions drop by around 60% and its green revenue rise by 30%, it is claimed. 

MSCI has launched a tool to help investors assess their positive and negative contribution to each of the Sustainable Development Goals. The tool covers 8,600 equity and fixed-income issuers, with analysis of company operations, products, services, policies and practices.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) has had a shareholder resolution slapped back by Fortescue Metals Group because it was delivered late, according to a statement. ACCR said the courier was delayed for reasons related to Covid-19, and that “FMG received electronic documents before the deadline sufficient for them to instruct their lawyers to undertake checks to determine shareholder eligibility”. The resolution centred on the desecration on cultural heritage sites and was backed by the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance. 

The Dutch government will press ahead with plans to introduce a carbon tax for industry despite a suggestion that the tax would be delayed due to COVID-19. The new measure aims to prevent Dutch companies moving more polluting activities to other EU countries to avoid tax.  

New research from CDP has revealed that most big fashion brands are blind to the risks of water pollution with only 1 in 10 fully aware of water pollution risks. The environmental non-profit found that over the last 20 years, clothing production has almost doubled, and the industry now uses around 32 million Olympic swimming pools of water each year. Despite this, most big fashion brands are failing to set targets to reduce water pollution or provide data on water pollution to investors and customers. The full report is available here.

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board (Mass PRIM) have partnered with MIT Sloan on the Aggregate Confusion Project to improve how ESG is evaluated. The project aims to reduce the level of noise in measuring specific ESG categories including labour treatment and carbon emissions as well as understand the effect of ESG-driven investment flows on stock price and firm behaviour. 

Connecticut State Representative David Michel has called on W.R. Berkley to stop insuring the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion in Canada. He has also called on people to sign a petition to force companies to rule out involvement in the controversial Adani Carmichael coal project in Australia. Currently 17 insurers are refusing to insure the project including Aspen which publicly committed to not renew its insurance policy with Adani after public pressure.