Daily ESG Briefing: Pittsburgh pension fund adopts sweeping SRI policy

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The City of Pittsburgh Comprehensive Municipal Pension Trust Fund has adopted new social and environmental guidelines. They include an emphasis on investing in firms offering green services, products or business conduct; supporting shareholder action to reduce arms production and encourage stronger labour rights provisions and consideration of human rights in supply chains; and support for companies promoting equal pay and opportunities for women and minorities.

The European Supervisory Authorities have opened a consultation on the “presentational aspects of product templates” linked to new sustainability-related disclosures regulation. The ESAs (the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority) said they “propose to standardise the disclosure of information for financial products that promote environmental and/or social characteristics or have a sustainable objective. The use of such mandatory templates will improve comparability of different financial products in different EU Member States and are intended to be included in existing disclosures provided by AIFMs, UCITSs, insurance undertakings, IORPs or providers of PEPPs”. The consultation focuses on the layout of the templates and will close on October 16.  

The Business 20, the body representing businesses in G20 countries, and the International Energy Agency have issued a Joint Statement calling on G20 leaders to step up the use of reliable, affordable and clean energy. The statement, which comes as G20 ministers of environment and energy come together for discussions, also requests efforts to improve energy data transparency and changes to energy pricing and taxes to help fund a Just Transition. 

Most of the 15 largest tobacco companies are not making substantive progress in phasing out cigarettes and other high-risk tobacco products and transitioning smokers to reduced-risk alternatives, according to the first Tobacco Transformation Index.  

The index, which is updated each year, found in its latest overhaul that its highest-ranking companies are all publicly-traded and subject to higher scrutiny and reporting requirements than peers. The Tobacco Transformation Index is run by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, a non-profit which received its initial funding from tobacco heavyweight Philip Morris International. 

BMO Global Asset Management has published a new report detailing the past 20 years of its engagements, saying that nearly three quarters (72%) its current engagement is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. The most engaged sectors over the two decades were banks, oil & gas, and retail. Across the board the asset manager recorded over 3,763 instances of positive change from engagement, with 5,588 companies engaged over 20 years.