Daily ESG Briefing: Securities Lending body recruiting working group for Shareholders Rights Directive

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Ahead of the September launch of the Shareholders Rights Directive II, the International Securities Lending Association is recruiting members to a working group dedicated to the topic. The SRD II working group wants to establish operational best practice within the industry. To register interest email regtech@isla.co.uk.

The London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute’s Nick Robins, has reissued calls for the UK Government to issue a ‘green gilt’ and establish a national investment bank to support a Just Transition in a new paper called Financing climate action with positive social impact: How banking can support a just transition in the UK. During the launch event, Conservative MP Bim Afolami, who is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Financial Markets and Services, said there was “a lot of appetite” for the proposal of a National Investment Bank, but noted “some institutional resistance in the Treasury and other areas of government” for making the regulatory changes required to issue green bonds. He said: “The government is interested in ways in which the government can be a leader on this subject using our existing strengths.” The UK set up its own Green Investment Bank, but sold it in 2017 to Australian infrastructure giant Macquarie, claiming it could not raise debt while it was state-owned.

Glass Lewis has released its 2020 Policy Guidelines for India, addressing its approach to governance and proxy research on the following topics in the country: board committee independence, corporate guarantees, retirement by rotation and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

Barclays and HSBC are among the world's top five creditors to 'Big Livestock' firms, investing billions into carbon-intensive agribusinesses that produce chlorinated chicken and are alleged to fuel the deforestation of the Amazon, according to a new report by campaign group Feedback. Entitled, ‘Butchering the Planet’, the report also claims that UK asset managers such as Prudential, Standard Life Aberdeen and Legal & General continue to invest in the "ecologically destructive industry." The group criticised the disconnect between banks' and other investors' sustainability policies and commitments and their deep implication with the global livestock industry. 

UK, US, and Australian retirement systems need to ramp up sustainability, according to a new blog by the PRI. The blog, ‘Retirement systems for a sustainable world’, pointed to the PRI’s recent research into the private retirement systems of each nation, which identified major challenges to the ability of organisations and individuals charged with overseeing the management of retirement pots to fulfil their function in a sustainable way. To address this, the PRI is building a ‘knowledge base’ for policymakers, industry and academics to foster debate about best practice for retirement systems to deliver financial security for participants while not undermining healthy social and environmental outcomes.

S&P Global Market Intelligence and management consulting firm Oliver Wyman have collaborated to create a climate-linked credit analytics model suite, designed to help financial institutions and corporates assess how a transition to a low-carbon economy will impact the creditworthiness of their counterparties. It will become available on a rolling basis throughout 2020 and 2021.

Members of an investor coalition with $4.6trn under management met with members of the Brazilian Congress as part of engagement on the management of the Amazon rainforest. Following the meeting Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management, said: “The representatives expressed that they will not vote on matters related to the environment that may damage Brazil's image abroad and any approval of bills needs to go through proper process."

The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) has published the results of its sixth annual ‘Sustainability Survey’, concluding that 41% of respondents had initiatives that correspond to its five Sustainability Principles. Additionally, nearly 90% perceived investor demand for ESG disclosure, of which 29% believed demand to be extensive.