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Daily ESG Briefing: Johnson & Johnson will stop selling skin whitening products

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Johnson & Johnson will stop selling controversial skin-whitening creams popular in Asia and the Middle East after renewed calls for the products to be dropped. The company had once again come under pressure to recall it’s ‘Clean & Clear Fairness’ and ‘Fine Fairness’ lines amid the global debate around racial inequality. 

Greenpeace has revealed that Luxembourg’s sovereign pension fund, Fonds de Compensation (FDC), continues to steadily invest in fossil fuel companies including Shell, Total, BP, Chevron, Equinor and Fortum. Greenpeace says analysis of the FDC 2019 annual report undermines claims that large parts of it meet sustainable and socially responsible investment criteria. Greenpeace has called on lawmakers to take immediate action to divest public money from polluting corporations.

AP2’s 2020 Female Representation Index has revealed a decrease in the number of women on boards of companies listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. The number has fallen for the first time in seven years to 34%. The Swedish pension fund, for which gender equality is a priority topic, also found that the number of executive positions held by women has increased for the tenth consecutive year to 24%. For the first time, more than 10% of listed companies' CEOs are women.

Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) has formed a strategic partnership with global equity specialist, Bell Asset Management, citing ESG as one of the key motives.  

Intertrust has found that despite 88% of private equity investors planning to increase efforts to manage and measure ESG performance, almost 46% are concerned that using their own ESG scoring methodologies will leave them open to accusations of greenwashing. The research also found that, while the majority of respondents believe they will ultimately benefit from a greater focus on ESG, 32% are pessimistic about what they will receive in return. The full report is available here

New data from ISS reveals a huge lack of diversity at senior management level, particularly in the US. 85% of the 4,800+ companies surveyed disclose a commitment to diversity among their workforce. However, at senior management level, just 7.7% of companies have a diversity strategy. This drops to 3.2% in the US, compared with 26.1% in the Netherlands and 16.8% in the UK. French companies also fall below the global average at 6.5%. At board level, 56% of those surveyed have a diversity strategy beyond gender, but the highest by far is South Africa, where 90.7% of companies have a board level diversity strategy.