Daily ESG Briefing: EU proposes rules on gender pay gap data and compensation

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The European Commission has announced plans to introduce new rules requiring employers with more than 250 workers to publish information on their gender pay gap. Under the new legislative proposal, workers would be given the right to request anonymised data from their employer on pay levels for employees doing similar work to them. Workers who have suffered gender pay discrimination will also be able to claim compensation.

The UK has announced an extension to the Social Investment Tax Relief scheme until April 2023. Under the scheme, investors receive tax relief when they buy shares in or lend money to a small charity or company set up for community benefit.  

The 2 Degrees Investing Initiative has published a report on the awareness of long-term risks among central banks and financial supervisors. The report, produced in partnership with the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, reviewed thousands of speeches, reports and published documents across eight major central banks. It found that monitoring of long-term risks was mostly “backward, not forward looking”, and that climate mitigation policies rarely take long-term risks into account. 

The governor of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Maeda Tadashi, has said that the bank will stop funding new coal-fired power plant projects overseas, according to reports. The bank was recently criticised for working with private-sector banks in Japan to provide $1.7bn in financing to a Vietnamese coal-fired power plant.

SEB has joined the Responsible Ship Recycling Standards, a joint initiative to ensure the environmentally and socially responsible disposal of ships, in line with the 2010 Hong Kong convention. The bank becomes the 12th European bank to join the Standards. Other members include Danske Bank, Nordea and ABN AMRO.

Norges Bank has placed beverage company Kirin Holdings under observation, due to “unacceptable risk that the company contributes to serious violations of individuals’ rights in situations of war or conflict”. The asset management arm of the Norwegian central bank, Norges Bank Investment Management, has also been tasked with engaging with German engineering and steel firm ThyssenKrupp over corruption concerns. The bank has also taken real estate developer Atal SA/Poland off its exclusion list, saying its concerns about the mistreatment of North-Korean workers on the company’s building sites have been dealt with as a result of changes in EU law.