Daily ESG Briefing: Investor guide on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights launched

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Responsible Investment Association Australasia’s (RIAA) Human Rights Working Group and the First Nations Peoples’ Rights Working Group have published an Investor Toolkit on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Cultural Heritage Protection. The guide details practical steps investors can take when engaging with companies on this issue, such as a 'red flag' guide on the key aspects investors can look for in disclosures and engagement to assess how companies manage cultural heritage issues and relationships with Indigenous partners. It also aims to help investors align their policies and practices to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  

Goldman Sachs Asset Management has announced it will update its proxy voting policies to increase ethnic and gender diversity expectations for company boards. From March 2022, it will expect companies in the S&P 500 and FTSE 100 to have at least one diverse director from an underrepresented ethnic minority group on their board. With regards to gender diversity, it will expect public companies globally to have at least two women on the board unless the board has fewer than 10 members or where local requirements are already higher.

Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust Choice Properties has announced it will set a climate target through the Science-Based Targets Initiative’s Net Zero Standard, expecting to do so in 2022. It is pledging to set targets across its entire value chain, including emissions from its tenants and developments, to meet Net Zero emissions by 2050.   

Natixis has partnered with Dutch financial services company CMIS Group to launch an ESG investment platform focused on the Dutch mortgage market. The platform, Impact Hypotheken, will enable pan-European investors to access mortgages of energy efficient Dutch residential properties. It follows the launch in 2016 of Natixis and CMIS of a product for institutional investors to access the prime Dutch mortgage market, with the new platform aiming to align with growing demands for ESG-focused portfolios.

More than 80% of companies responding to a survey by law firm Crowell & Moring have adopted environmental performance goals, but many struggle implement the goals and to measure their performance against them. Of the 225 companies surveyed, 44% measure their carbon footprint but fewer than half of those measure Scope 3 emissions. Just 13% of respondents measure their environmental impact on ethnically and racially diverse communities. The main motivation to adopt environmental goals was to improve brand image and reputation, followed by staying competitive in the market as well as increasing pressure from investors and shareholders.   

The Guernsey Association of Pension Providers (GAPP) has announced plans to publish an ESG framework, aiming to do so around mid 2022.