Daily ESG Briefing: No more all-male boards on the ASX

The latest developments in sustainable finance

There are no longer any all-male boards on the ASX200, after the appointment of women directors at Silver Lake Resources and Chalice Mining this month. The Australian Institute of Company Directors has been tracking female representation on the boards of the largest 200 listed companies in the country since 2015, when there were 28 firms with all-male line ups. 

Moody’s ESG Solutions has launched a tool aimed at helping investors integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into investment strategies, funds, indices and reporting. SDG Alignment Screening provides data for approximately 5,000 listed companies, covering over 300 data points, and adopts a ‘double materiality’ approach – meaning it considers the impact of business activities on the environment and society, as well as the risks that ESG issues pose to company turnover.

Nearly half (46%) of Brazilian banks’ non-financial corporate loan portfolio is concentrated in sectors heavily dependent on ecosystem services, according to research by the World Bank. Nature-Related Financial Risks in Brazil assesses the exposure of Brazilian lending books to biodiversity loss. It found that output losses associated with a collapse in ecosystem services could translate into a cumulative long-term increase in corporate nonperforming loans of nine percentage points. The report comes as US sustainability body Ceres prepares a statement with the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation’s Public Policy Advocacy Working Group, urging governments to agree on a “transformative” Global Biodiversity Framework. The news comes as the Foundation becomes an official observer member of the meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

CDP has launched a Water Impact Index, measuring the potential impact on water quality and quantity made by more than 200 industrial activities. Companies in the apparel, financial services and fossil fuel sectors were found to have the biggest issues. The tool is designed to help investors and banks assess the water risk and impacts linked to their portfolios.

Traditional ‘sin stocks’, such as tobacco, alcohol and firearms, are exposed to more severe ESG issues and often lack practices to mitigate them, according to new academic research titled ESG Outcasts: Study of the ESG Performance of Sin Stocks.

Denmark and Costa Rica are aiming to create an alliance of countries that will fix a date to phase out oil and gas production and cease issuing permits for new exploration, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. In documents seen by the Foundation, to become a full member of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, countries must promise to end new licensing and phase out existing production.