Daily ESG Briefing: HSBC co-founds ‘world’s largest natural capital manager’

The latest developments in sustainable finance

HSBC Global Asset Management and climate change-focused manager Pollination Group have teamed up to launch what is billed as “the world’s largest natural capital manager”. The newly-minted HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management “aims to offer investors a wide exposure to global natural capital themes in both emerging and developed markets” and will offer stewardship and impact measurement services. The first fund, to be launched mid-2021, is targeting up to $1bn, followed by a $2bn carbon credit fund.

MSCI have confirmed their participation in a project by the Taiwan and Taipei exchanges to establish a publicly accessible database of ESG ratings for Taiwanese companies. In May, RI reported that data providers Sustainalytics, ISS ESG and FTSE Russell had signed on to the project. The exchanges hope that access to the ratings will allow Taiwanese companies to improve their sustainability performance and support investor engagement.

The Reserve Bank of India has flagged concerns over the impact of climate change on the country’s agricultural outlook in its annual report, published this week. The bank said that “global warming” has likely already caused “a decline in crop yields, undermining farm income”.

Rotterdam School of Management has found that companies engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) are significantly more likely to be targeted by activist hedge funds for takeover. Researchers say that hedge funds see CSR activities as a signal of wasteful spending that distracts companies from maximising shareholder value. “Asset owners looking to prioritise sustainability should ensure their investments are not supporting asset management firms that undermine CSR,” the study concludes.

The UN’s Carbon Offset Platform, through which individuals and companies can buy Certified Emissions Reductions in order to retire them, has reached sales of 2 million. The programme launched in 2015, and uses the well-established UN Clean Development Mechanism to identify projects in developing countries that are generate Certified Emissions Reductions. Those projects’ offsets are then made available online for consumers to purchase and cancel.