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Daily ESG Briefing: Exec pay cuts during pandemic have been a ‘facade’, says report

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Executive pay cuts at S&P500 companies last year have been dismissed as a “facade” by data provider CGLytics, which claims they represented on average just 6% of total CEO pay for the 2019 financial year. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause significant economic hardship to millions of workers around the world. Yet our report shows the S&P 500 CEOs made sizable gains in compensation last year, even while many of them issued statements about taking pay reductions”, said Dottie Schindlinger, Executive Director of the Diligent Institute, which owns CGLytics.

Goldman Sachs, Colgate, AT&T, McDonalds, Walmart and Verizon are among 26 companies to receive an ‘F’ grade as part of Arjuna Capital and Proxy Impact’s Racial and Gender Pay Scorecard. The scorecard, based on quantitative company disclosures, gave A grades to Mastercard, Starbucks, Pfizer, Citigroup and BNY Mellon. “Despite a wave of corporate statements expressing solidarity with Black Americans and women, there are very few standout companies that actually provide an honest accounting of and commitment to closing racial and gender pay gaps,” said Natasha Lamb, Managing Partner at Arjuna Capital. 

The central bank of the Netherlands, De Nederlandsche Bank, has published its first progress report on financial climate-related risks and opportunities in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). 

More than one fifth of the world’s 2,000 largest public companies have committed to Net Zero, according to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit and Oxford Net Zero. The findings comes from the pair’s Taking stock: A global assessment of net zero targets report.

Finnish pension insurance company Ilmarinen says it has achieved almost all of its 2020 climate targets. It saw a 14% decrease in the carbon footprint of real estate between 2016 and 2020, while investments in sustainable development nearly doubled.

The Global Reporting Initiative is consulting on key human rights issues that could be included in its revised Universal Standards, which are being updated by its Global Sustainability Standards Board. Alongside this, the scoping survey, open until 19th May, aims to determine whether changes are required to the human rights-related Topic Standards. The new version of the Standards is set to launch later this year.