Daily ESG Briefing: FAIRR sees tenfold rise in investors backing meat engagement

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return network, known as FAIRR, has seen a ten-fold increase in investors participating in its ‘Sustainable Proteins Engagement’, which is pushing for 25 of the biggest food companies, including supermarket Tesco and manufacturer Nestle, to diversify into plant-based meat alternatives. Initially, 40 investors with $1.25trn under management backed the initiative. Today, it announced that Amundi, Northern Trust and BMO General Asset Management were among investors to join in 2020, bringing the total to 88, with more than $13trn of assets combined. FAIRR said new venture capital data revealed that more than $1.1bn has been invested into alternative protein start-ups in the first half of 2020 – more than twice the level of investment for the whole of 2019. 

Green bond issuance could set record high above $200bn this year, if central banks enter the market and start buying up green bonds via stimulus programs, according to AXA Investment Managers. The asset manager reported that 2020 has already seen more than $80bn in green bond issuance. Johann Ple, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager at AXA, said comments from the European Central Bank recently, suggesting it could target green bonds in its future QE programmes, would “see the sovereign issuance dynamic strengthen, given that many European governments would likely accelerate their plans to add this source of funding to their issuance programs”.

The Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute (ICI) has endorsed a white paper by its ESG Working Group called ‘Funds’ Use of ESG Integration and Sustainable Investing Strategies: An Introduction’. The paper seeks to encourage the use of consistent terminology when describing ESG integration and sustainable investing strategies. The working group consists of senior executives from ICI member firms with more than $13.7trn in combined mutual fund assets under management.

HSBC has announced the formation of a dedicated ESG Solutions Unit to support clients rebuild and transition their businesses and economies in a more sustainable way, post-COVID-19. The unit will form part of a new Strategic Solutions Group within the bank’s Capital Financing & Investment Banking Coverage division. The group will also comprise two additional components: one focusing on Corporate Finance Solutions, and the other on Financial Institutions & Capital Solutions.

Jane Diplock, Board Director at Singapore Exchange, has called for the establishment of a ‘Non-Financial Standards Board’ to set global ‘non-financial’ reporting standards. “The 4th Industrial Revolution is transforming how companies report, stakeholders engage, investors invest, and regulators regulate”, she said in a post on LinkedIn.