Daily ESG Briefing: Feedback sought on Net Zero benchmark and biodiversity impact assessment

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Shareholder engagement network Climate Action 100+ has launched a consultation on the methodology that will underpin future versions of its Net Zero Company Benchmark. The milestone tool, launched earlier this year, allows investors and other stakeholders to track the progress of companies being engaged by the group’s members. Feedback on the original version is also welcome, CA100+ said. The consultation is open until December 31, and feedback “will be collated and considered for integration into the methodology used for company assessments in 2023”.

The launch comes just a day after CA100+ convened eight mining companies to help create “a reliable standard for net zero for the mining sector”. Anglo American, BHP, Glencore, Rio Tinto, South32, Teck Resources, Vale and Vedanta have joined a group of unnamed international investors – led by Australian and European players – for a roundtable to kick off work on the standard. “The roundtable will set out a planned program of work for the participants over the coming 12 months, highlight key opportunities and areas of focus, and take the initial steps forward to develop a paper on net zero standards for the sector,” said CA100+. 

Investors and other financial institutions are also being asked to provide feedback on a working paper on assessing biodiversity impact. Published by the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation, with input from specialists at Mirova, Rabobank, Federal Finance Gestion and AXA Investment Management, the paper covers issues such as data, regulation, technical barriers and the use of science-based targets. NGOs, governments and regulators are also invited to submit their feedback to the consultation, which closes at the end of November. “The goal of the consultation is to get a better understanding of biodiversity issues and available approaches in order to allow financial institutions to integrate the knowledge into their financial decisions and tackle the biodiversity crisis effectively,” the Foundation said in a statement. 

A ‘Canadian Pensions Dashboard for Responsible Investing’ has been launched “to help funds raise climate and diversity ambitions”. The tool shows how pension funds compare on ESG issues, and claims that 7% ($160bn) of the assets it covers are reported to be ‘green’. It makes 10 recommendations for governments, pension funds and beneficiaries on how to deal with topics such as Net Zero commitments, pay ratio and diversity. Led by charity The Natural Step Canada, think-tank the Smart Prosperity Institute, and ratings organisation Corporate Knights, the project has been advised by experts including Keith Ambachtsheer from the University of Toronto’s International Centre for Pension Management, and Ed Waitzer, former Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission. Funding was provided by the Montreal-based Trottier Family Foundation. 

Ireland’s national sustainable finance initiative has given an undisclosed sum to First Derivative, a for-profit consultancy, to allow them to ‘map’ ESG taxonomies. The firm will work with Corlytics, a start-up in regulatory technology, to create an open-source database to help companies comply with regulation and address risk. The International Platform on Sustainable Finance, a body representing numerous countries developing taxonomies, is also undertaking a mapping exercise for all the current frameworks.