Daily ESG Briefing: ISS buys Nordic Investor Services

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), has acquired fellow proxy advisor and governance specialist Nordic Investor Services. The Stockholm-based firm, founded in 2002, offers bespoke proxy voting advice and services and will remain led by Founder Helena Levander and CEO Oscar Bergman. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Zurich Insurance Group has pledged to cut the carbon intensity of its listed equity and corporate bond portfolios by 25% by 2025, and 30% for its direct real estate holdings. The asset owner said it would also use its influence as an investor and insurer to push companies to set 1.5 degree targets and will help develop industry-wide methodologies to measure emissions from insurance underwriting. 

A record 141 companies have disclosed data on their treatment of workers to investor coalition the Workforce Disclosure Initiative, including Nike, Legal & General, Landsec and Santander. However, in a report released today, WDI – a project led by ShareAction – says improvements in transparency do not necessarily reflect improved treatment of workers, with key data points and detail missing from many responses. 

The Brazilian Central Bank is holding a public consultation on two draft regulations that would apply sustainability criteria to rural credit applications. The proposed criteria would prevent the financing of projects with social or environmental risk, like those in deforested areas of the Amazon or with ‘slave-like’ working conditions. 

S&P Global Ratings has awarded its highest ESG rating to date, to Dutch healthcare group Koninklijke Philips, which scored 90 out of 100 in its assessment. The agency praised the €2.9bn company, which provides diagnostics, personal care and health monitoring services, for placing sustainability at the core of its corporate strategy and robust governance procedures. 

Meridian Institute will create a voluntary carbon market integrity initiative, supported by the UK Government. The non-profit will develop a “credible” approach to governing the carbon credit market in partnership with Trove Research, SYSTEMIQ and Climate Focus. “With a growing number of corporate net-zero commitments beginning to include carbon credits, it’s vital that clear guidance is in place to ensure these markets support ambitious climate action in line with the Paris Agreement goals,” said Meridian Institute project director Tim Mealey.