Daily ESG Briefing: SASB launches consultation

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board has opened a consultation on its latest revisions. The revisions, to its Conceptual Framework and Rules of Procedure – both originally issued in 2017 – seek to “clarify and explain SASB’s approach to standard setting, including its principles, processes and practices”. The consultation is open for 90 days.

Rabobank, JPMorgan Chase, Mizuho Financial, Bradesco and Banco do Brasil have been named as the top five creditors to “forest-risk commodity operations” that contribute to deforestation and land degradation. A database launched as part of a collaboration between NGOs including Amazon Watch, BankTrack and Rainforest Action Network shows that, since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, global banks have upped their support for the production and trade of commodities in Southeast Asia, Brazil and Central and West Africa by 40%. It concludes that banks are behind $154bn of loans and underwriting linked to the issue. As of April, investors also held $37bn in bonds and shares in these companies.

The Green Investment Group (GIG), formerly the UK Government’s Green Investment Bank, has partnered with Total to develop floating offshore wind in Korea. GIG, now owned by Macquarie, said it will co-develop five projects with combined capacity of 2.3GW. The projects are in line with the Korean Government’s ‘New Deal’, which plans to raise green energy levels while providing jobs within the country. GIG has committed to “maximizing Korean content within the supply chain” to meet this expectation, and has agreed to work with organizations including unions, universities and utilities to develop and promote floating offshore wind and create new jobs. 

A standard for responsibly sourcing metals has been put out to consultation. The Joint Due Diligence Standard for Copper, Lead, Nickel and Zinc has been created by the Copper Mark, the International Lead Association, the International Zinc Association, the Nickel Institute and the Responsible Minerals Initiative, to enable companies to comply with the London Metal Exchange’s Responsible Sourcing requirements. The standard seeks to reduce the costs and administrative burden of meeting the requirements. The consultation is open until September 30.

S&P Global Ratings has released a study into the use of data in enhancing dialogue with rated US public finance bodies on climate exposure and how they have adapted or plan to adapt to relevant risks. It concludes that, while disclosure at US public finance bodies has been below par, better data “could provide a foundation for understanding current and future country-level climate risks across the US in coming years”. A number of physical climate risks were identified as becoming more relevant to such bodies: sea level rise, river flooding, heat waves, wildfires and water scarcity.

A paper from analysts AKG, co-sponsored by Canada Life, Fidelity FundsNetwork, Charles Stanley and Intelliflo shows that 60% of advisors now factor ESG into dialogue with clients. A further 22% plan to introduce ESG-related questions over the next 12 months. Future of Advice – Beneath and Beyond also says that nearly a quarter of investors have independently reviewed their investments to ensure they are “sustainable and socially responsible” and more than a fifth have done so with the support of an adviser.