Daily ESG Briefing: Insurers under pressure over Trans Mountain pipeline

The latest developments in sustainable finance

A coalition of 140 organisations have sent a letter to the insurers of Trans Mountain, which include AIG, Lloyd’s, and W.R. Berkley, urging them not to renew their coverage of the controversial pipeline at the end of the month, and to stop insuring all tar sands expansion. The group, formed of indigenous leaders and nations, climate justice groups, community organisations and a physicians’ association, argue that the pipeline negatively impacts climate change, indigenous rights and environmental justice. Trans Mountains’ lead insurer, Zurich, as well as Talanx and Munich Re, recently announced they would not be renewing their policies.

GRI Universal Standards has released a series of interviews exploring planned revisions to its Universal Standards. The interviews, available on Cohen’s CSR-Reporting blog, touch on transparency, human rights, governance disclosures, and the expansion of GRI Standards to cover more sectors. The public comment period is open until 9 September.

A recent S&P Global Market Intelligence Trucost analysis has found that Amazon's greenhouse gas emissions increased 15% in 2019, despite pledges to reduce its carbon footprint. However, the retail giant outperforms its peers, including Chinese e-commerce companies JD.com and Alibaba, and multiplatform retailer Qurate Retail, when it comes to environmental disclosures, the study found.

The Bank of England has been accused by campaign groups of backsliding on previous climate commitments in its ‘Monetary Policy Report and Financial Stability Report 2020’, following a report by the New Economics Foundation. The think tank’s work found that the bank’s Corporate Bond Purchase programme is investing £11.4bn in fossil fuel and energy-intensive sectors and its own report makes no reference to climate concerns – other than to confirm it will be delaying climate stress tests to 2021. Campaigners are calling on the bank to act on its pledges to support a green recovery from Covid-19.

Bloom Energy Corporation has priced $200m of green convertible senior notes in a private offering. The 5-year paper has a coupon of 2.5%, and will finance green energy.

Boston Common has published its fourth Annual Impact Report, highlighting engagement milestones in 2019. In ‘Advocating for a More Sustainable, Equitable, and Transparent World’, the asset manager says it engaged with 219 companies and achieved 63 ‘meaningful’ changes. Moving forward, it is calling on companies to build long-term resilience, with a focus on a sustainable, green recovery and inclusive prosperity.