Daily ESG Briefing: Larry Fink calls divestment ‘greenwashing’

The latest developments in sustainable finance

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has said fossil fuel divestment is “greenwashing”. Speaking at the US Climate Finance Summit, Fink said “it doesn’t change the net-zero of the world” if a company is sold to someone else. He also stressed the need for a Just Transition and said the economic opportunity for the low-carbon transition was enormous.

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change has issued a call for proposals for its Climate Transition Paper. It is seeking solo or joint bids for a contract to help it “provide robust estimates against which investors can set investment goals through actionable metrics and prioritise investment in the sectors and technologies that could maximise emissions reduction,” it said in a statement. The deadline for submissions is close of business on Friday 15th of March.

French public sector pension investor ERAFP has issued an RfP for small and mid-cap equity mandates with an estimated value of €475m. Successful asset managers will need to adhere to the socially responsible investment principles of the fund.

Swedish pension fund AP Fonden 4, also known as AP4, has halved the carbon footprint of its listed equity portfolio since 2010 and aims to halve it again by 2030, in a bid to reach Net Zero by 2040. The fund released its 2020 results today, showing a return of 9.6% after costs. 

S&P Global has released 400 additional data points as part of its company ESG scores. The data points are spread across E, S and G factors and include biodiversity commitments, anti corruption policies and independent auditing of social reporting disclosures. 

A New York judge has ruled that BNP Paribas can be sued by a group of Sudanese refugees living in the US. In 2016, the group brought a class action lawsuit against the bank, claiming that its relationship with the regime of Omar al-Bashir allowed the Sudanese government to evade sanctions and access the US financial system, in turn allowing it to buy weapons. Al-Bashir is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court for charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Under Swiss law, a claim of secondary liability can be brought if the defendant "knew or should have known" they were contributing to an act, and that their actions were the "natural and adequate cause" of the harm. BNP Paribas declined to comment on the ruling. 

Canada’s Scotiabank has established a C$1m Net Zero Research Fund, which it will use to partner with think tanks and academic institutions to advance research into decarbonisation efforts.  

Schroders Real Estate has published a net zero by 2050 plan for its property portfolio, focusing on reducing energy demand, increasing efficiency, and improving renewable energy production.