Daily ESG Briefing: New York launches ‘biggest call for renewable energy in US history’

The latest developments in sustainable finance

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the largest combined solicitations for renewable energy capacity in the US to combat climate change. They include up to 2,500 megawatts for offshore wind and 1,500 megawatts for land-based, large-scale renewable energy projects. Overall, the 4,000 megawatts of development projects are predicted to spur approximately $7bn in direct investments. 

PKA has excluded 20 coal companies from its portfolio, saying it will not invest in companies that derive 20% or more of their turnover from coal. However, the €30bn Danish pension fund has retained 12 firms that currently derive more than 20% of their turnover from coal, because they have shown a readiness to become greener. They will be re-evaluated at the end of 2022.

A new body, the International Association for Sustainable Economy (IASE), aims to standardise ESG certification. The UK-based firm, which launched in June, hopes to be the first institution to accredit professionals in the field on a global scale. IASE will deliver two qualifications – one on finance and one on business. Javier Manzanares Allen, who is Deputy Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund set up by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is chairing the association.

A raft of sustainability specialists including Nell Minow, Cary Krosinsky, Jerome Tagger and Jon Lukomnik have penned a letter proclaiming that proposed regulations that may dampen ESG investing in the US  are “based on a woefully incorrect understanding of the current state of investing knowledge and theory”. The criticisms, published in Harvard Corporate Governance forum, cite five key issues with the controversial plans from the US Department of Labor. The coalition, representing trustees for more than $200bn in retirement savings, are urging it to be replaced with one more consistent with evidence.

Companies including Microsoft, Nike and Unilever have teamed up to form a new consortium for sharing resources and tactics to reduce carbon emissions. The group, Transform to Net Zero, will work with the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund and will share information on investing in carbon-reduction technology and coordinating on public policy goals. 

CaixaBank has launched a new sustainability initiative to help channel support for third-party social and business initiatives that benefit the environment and society. It will specifically focus on supporting five of the UN SDGs: sustainable cities and communities, responsible production and consumption, climate action, life below water and life on land.