Daily ESG Briefing: P+, QBE and St James’ Place join Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance

The latest developments in sustainable finance

P+, the Danish Pension Fund for Academics, Australian insurer QBE and UK-based St James’s Place Wealth Management have joined the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, bringing the number of members to 33, with $5.1trn in assets. The network commits to transition their investment portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

The first ever global carbon accounting standard has been launched by the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF). PCAF, which now boasts more than 80 members, including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and CitiGroup, has grown exponentially since it was set up by Dutch bank ASN in 2015; and is tipped to become the common carbon accounting framework used by financial groups. 

UK diversity and inclusion organisation City Hive has launched an Action, Culture and Transparency kitemark (ACT), which provides a framework for investment firms to address, assess and catalyse improvements in the culture of their organisations, the wider investment industry, and the companies they invest in. 

BlackRock and Alphabet were the only S&P 250 companies to fall in the top 10 of As You Sow’s scorecards on Racial Justice and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion disclosure. Goldman Sachs also featured in the top ten of the former. The assessment found only 16 companies had released any inclusion data on Black employees, despite 189 making public statements on racial justice. 

Bank of America is facing pressure over its position as the only major US bank not to rule out financing arctic drilling projects. Trillium Asset Management has filed a shareholder resolution on the topic. 

There has been a 40% increase in the number of Canadian financial firms publicly disclosing in alignment with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures since 2017, according to the Global Risk Institute in Financial Services. In Climate-Related Financial Disclosure in the Canadian Financial Sector: A Three-Year Progress Report, the organisation examines trends in climate-related financial disclosure among 58 financial firms; with 80% of the 25 disclosing firms assessing risk over the short, medium and long terms, and 70% disclosing specific risks they were facing in each of these time horizons.

South-Africa’s second largest carbon emitter, Sasol, has reportedly announced that it will table a non-binding advisory vote on its climate change strategy at its 2021 annual meeting, after denying attempts by shareholders to table a binding climate resolution again this year. It is the second year in a row that the energy giant has blocked climate proposals, which were coordinated by non-profit JustShare, on the basis of an undisclosed legal opinion. Sasol’s AGM takes place tomorrow (20 November).

Green Century Capital Management has praised food service provider Aramark Corporation for sourcing 100% of its soy oils, 99% of its palm oil, and 60% of its beef deforestation-free within less than a year of establishing its no-deforestation policy. The firm’s strategy was co-developed with the investment advisory firm after it withdrew a shareholder resolution regarding forest-related risk.