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Daily ESG Briefing: Financial Centres for Sustainability looks at Covid and sustainability

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) has launched a working paper on the implications of COVID-19 on sustainable finance. The paper explores how the sustainable financial system is reacting to the pandemic, and sets out a framework to assess existing levers aimed at strengthening the role of the system in supporting a low-carbon recovery. The paper will be updated every quarter and focuses on four major sections: Financial and Capital Markets; Policy Action; Regulation and Supervision; and International Networks covering recent developments in response to COVID-19.

The federal district court for the Northern District of California has ordered Resolute Forest Products to pay $800,000 in legal fees in a dispute with Greenpeace. The forest product company alleged that Greenpeace’s campaign which labelled the company a “Forest Destroyer” and a major contributor to climate change was “malicious and false”. 

The Tara Health Foundation has lodged a shareholder proposal with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission calling out Home Depot for political spending which fails to align with its stated values of gender diversity. The foundation has revealed that Home Depot made at least $400,000 in political contributions to anti-choice candidates and committees during the 2016 and 2018 US elections, while The Home Depot Political Action Committee donated at least $4.5 million. The resolution is part of a broader effort by the foundation, which aims to improve the health and well-being of women and girls through the use of philanthropic capital, to work with shareholders to advance reproductive health care access. 

More than 250 institutional investors and companies including Capital One, Dow, Eileen Fisher, General Mills, Microsoft, NIKE and VISA were to participate in the largest ever virtual lawmaker education and advocacy day. Participants of LEAD on Climate 2020, organised by sustainability advocacy group Ceres will call on Congress to build a more resilient, sustainable economy following COVID-19. Investors will make the case for an accelerated transition to a net-zero economy by 2050 as well as effective climate solutions which leverage the job opportunities of zero-carbon industries. 

EU-funded research project, The Carbon Risk Real Estate Monitor (CRREM), has released decarbonisation pathways for the global real estate sector and is asking for feedback from the market. The pathways published by CRREM identify annual energy and carbon-intensity trajectories across real estate markets and sectors that are consistent with keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The public consultation is open until June 15.