Daily ESG Briefing: Green Climate Fund denies allegations of racism and sexism

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The UN-backed Green Climate Fund has “strongly refuted” claims of “systematic staffing problems”, following allegations of sexism and harassment published in the FT this week. The South Korea-based fund said that its Independent Integrity Unit had found just “a single substantiated complaint relating to staff misconduct respectively for each year in 2018 and 2019”. The FT reported that 17 current and former employees had witnessed or been the victim of misconduct, including abuse of power, racism, sexism, harassment and inappropriate relationships. The GCF was set up in 2010 to support the goals of the Paris Agreement by channelling money from high-income countries to climate-related projects in low-income countries. 

Sweden is set to become the first Nordic country to issue a sovereign green bond with what is expected to be a SEK20bn (€1.9bn) issuance. The bond, which follows the announcement of the country’s green bond framework in June, will be used to meet Sweden’s “environmental and climate objectives”. Danske Bank is among the Joint Lead Managers of the issuance.

UK pension fund the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) has reportedly divested its tobacco holdings – estimated to be around £40m – a year ahead of schedule. The government-backed defined contribution pension scheme, which recently shifted £5.5bn to a UBS climate fund as part of a new strategy, announced that it was to go tobacco-free within two years last summer.

The French Development Agency has signed a partnership with the Trade and Development Bank of Eastern and Southern Africa to open a $150m line of credit to finance sustainable green infrastructure in East Africa. 80% of the credit will be dedicated to financing climate projects that promote efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or that support adaptation projects.

The US’ largest black-led “minority depository institution” has been created through the merger of Washington-based CFBanc Corporation and Los-Angeles-based Broadway Financial Corporation. The new financial body, with more than $1bn in asset under management and around $850m in depository assets, is designed to “expand access to capital in underserved urban areas”.