Daily ESG Briefing: Investors unite to call for fair access to Covid vaccines

The latest developments in sustainable finance

A $14trn coalition of investors has issued a call for a “fair and equitable” global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 148 institutions, including Aegon Asset Management, Nordea and Columbia Threadneedle, is urging governments to ensure better access to vaccines for the developing world. The statement also called for the World Health Organisation’s ‘Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator’ – an initiative to promote equitable access to, and production of, Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines – to be fully funded. 

ISS ESG has launched a new ESG scoring tool covering private companies. Earlier this month, RI reported that BlackRock had partnered with RepRisk to release ESG data for thousands of unlisted firms, while Truvalue Labs has said it will roll out its SDG coverage to “hundreds of thousands” of private companies in 2021. 

MSCI has teamed up with Microsoft to launch ‘Investment Solutions as a Service’, combining MSCI datasets and financial expertise with Microsoft’s Cloud and AI technologies. ESG will be one of four options under the new service, and will be based on Microsoft’s Azure and PowerBI platforms. In a statement, MSCI said ESG would cover “adaptive capacity, carbon footprint measurements and exposure to physical risk”, but did not elaborate on its coverage beyond climate change.

SIX, a Zurich-based firm that offers banking and financial services to stock exchanges in Switzerland and Spain, has taken a majority stake in a Canadian ESG data house called Orenda. The firm, founded in 2015, provides real-time ESG scores, and uses AI-based methods to monitor the reputation and public perception of companies. SIX is owned by its 122 bank users. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The Export-Import Bank of Korea will establish a $180m ESG fund to support firms seeking to expand business overseas. The fund will focus on seven areas including green energy and healthcare, and will seek to assist firms with their trade, overseas investments and the establishment of local subsidiaries.

Only a third of board members at European banks are female, according to a new report from DBRS Morningstar. While this is an increase of 10% on 2014, only six of the 53 banks surveyed had a female Chief Executive. At the current rate of increase, gender parity will only be achieved by 2030. Despite quotas for female board membership in a number of European countries, no bank or country had an equal gender representation. 

US utility FirstEnergy will disclose its political spending after engagement by the New York State Common Retirement Fund. FirstEnergy will semi-annually report its corporate spending on candidates, parties, ballot measures and payments over $25,000 to trade associations used for political purposes. The fund will withdraw a shareholder resolution it has filed to this effect.

Real estate and infrastructure manager CBRE Global Investors has committed to net-zero emissions by 2040 for its directly managed, long-term core investments. It will seek to improve the operational efficiency of its assets, source green energy supplies and encourage its tenants to transition to net-zero strategies.