Daily ESG Briefing: Investors pressure Nike, FedEx and Pepsi over links to NFL team Redskins

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Trillium Asset Management is leading a group of 88 investors, representing over $620bn in assets, that have signed letters to Nike, FedEx and Pepsi urging them to terminate their relationships with the National Football League’s Washington D.C. franchise if it does not stop using the name Redskins. The term was resolutely criticised in 2018 by the National Congress of American Indians, which stated: “The use of the R-word as the name and mascot of the Washington National Football League team is offensive and hurtful to American Indian and Alaska Native people and causes direct, harmful effects on the physical and mental health and academic achievement of the American Indian and Alaska Native populations”. Although the investor coalition acknowledges the proactive moves by the corporations towards racial justice, they argue the association with the team undermines them.

Climate change is now officially part of the Bank of England’s financial stability mandate. According to the New Economics Foundation, the Bank’s financial policy committee considerations now include climate, as well as other “non-financial risks” like cybersecurity and conduct.

Amundi has criticised German energy company RWE on its coal phase-out strategy, describing it as “at odds” with the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to reports from NGO Urgewald. Amundi is the seventh largest investor in RWE, which plans to keep its lignite coal plants running until 2038. “This criticism is part of a letter seen by Urgewald and its partner NGO Reclaim Finance that is addressed to RWE’s CEO Rolf Martin Schmitz and his designated successor and CFO Markus Krebber,” the campaign groups said in a statement, claiming the letter from Amundi also includes the following: “We want to express our surprise at RWE’s plans to maintain most of its lignite-fired electricity production in Germany until 2038”. It reportedly requests that RWE provides a transition plan "fully compliant with the recommendations of climate science".

The Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) has published a set of climate scenarios for forward looking climate risks assessment, alongside a user guide and an inquiry into the potential impact of climate change on monetary policy. The aim is to foster the integration of climate-related risk into their network’s work. The NGFS, currently composed of 66 Central Banks, will develop its scenarios to be more comprehensive, as well as soliciting feedback. Its next step is to look at the implications of climate on monetary policy operations.

Banque De France’s new Responsible Investment report shows positive outcomes across its five-point strategy, first implemented in 2019. The bank excluded 5% of issuers from its investable universe due to climate performance and contributed more than €500m to green bonds and funds. On the latter, it had an initial target of €900m, but has now upped that €1.7bn.

Investors have backed a call by NGO ShareAction for UK-based supermarket Tesco to disclose the proportion of its sales made up of healthy food and drink products, and to set ambitious targets to increase those revenues over time. Pension fund Nest, and EQ Investors, are among those supporting the call, which is part of ShareAction’s Healthy Markets campaign. A review of UK supermarkets’ plans to improve the nation’s diets earlier this year showed significant gaps in their public commitments and actions to help people eat balanced diets and tackle childhood obesity. Tesco came third, with information being found on only 30% of indicators across topics such as product formulation, responsible marketing, affordability, clear labelling and corporate governance. Already other major UK supermarkets have made the commitment, including Sainsbury’s and M&S.