Daily ESG Briefing: Exxon rumoured to be u-turning on climate

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Exxon is considering caving to investors over the climate-readiness of its board members and capex, according to reports. The FT claims that the oil major may commit to investing more in sustainable technologies and less in conventional energy as a result of discussions with shareholders. The news comes as activist fund Engine No 1 announced on wednesday that it would nominate four of its own independent candidates for the board. The proposals are backed by CalSTRS, which holds $300m in shares, and the Church of England’s investment fund, which was until recently the CA100+ lead for Exxon.

Climate Action 100+ (CA100+) has launched its first sector strategy, focusing on aviation, to help investors engage with the airline industry on decarbonisation. The strategy, produced by the Principles for Responsible Investment in consultation with CA100+ signatories, aviation companies and sector experts, outlines what investors should expect from engagement with companies. The report concluded that limiting growth in air transport demand is important, but the key to decarbonisation is in supply-side solutions, such as new fuels and technologies. However, these are still in the very early stages of development. Investment in synthetic aviation fuel including biofuels was identified as the most pressing priority for action.

Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index has revealed that a record number of companies are disclosing their gender-related data. The index, made up of 380 companies across 44 countries, saw an improvement in the overall quality of disclosure, but the average score for data quality remained low. The index found that constituents are on average hiring more women than they are losing, and that 69% have a strategy for recruiting women.

The Government of Hong Kong has issued its biggest green bond to date, in a $2.5bn deal. 65% of the total was allocated to Asian institutional investors, with 20% and 15% going to European and US investors respectively.

US-based advisory firm Meketa Investment Group has announced it will require all public and private managers in its database to complete an annual survey on their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. 

Climate risk analysis provider Entelligent has partnered with ethical investment manager Promethos Capital to provide climate data analysis. Promethos will use the technology in its range of ‘intentional investing’ products, which include climate resilience and gender equality-based strategies.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched a new set of Universal Circular Economy Goals, which it says will help businesses to drive a transition to a circular economy. The five goals include managing resources for the preservation of value, and greater investment in innovation and infrastructure.