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Daily ESG Briefing: Shareholders approve new stakeholder-focused articles of association at US infra firm

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) is among the shareholders to have given Generate Capital the green light to become a Public Benefit Corporation under Delaware law. The US-based infrastructure firm, established in 2014, will now amend its certificate of incorporation to give its board of directors “a mandate to balance the economic interests of shareholders with the material interests of other stakeholders affected by the company’s operations and its stated public benefit”. It will report biennially on its progress in achieving its public benefit. “To build the resilient, climate-aligned infrastructure that meets our net zero emissions goals, we need everyone focused on bringing all stakeholders into the process,” said Ross Israel, Head of Global Infrastructure at QIC, which is owned by the Australian state, and a Generate board member. 

ESG “is becoming the mainstream of global investment”, according to the Chief Executive of HSBC China. Speaking at the Lujiazui Energy and Finance Forum, Wang Yunfeng said that despite starting later than other markets, China’s ESG investment scene is fast expanding, and with an increasing number of companies looking to issue Renminbi-denominated green bonds, the asset class could play an important role in the internationalisation of the currency. 

Fitch has warned that labour issues can hurt credit ratings, with widespread strikes at Colombian airline Avianca having “a negative impact on the credit profile”. Poor records on labour issues can also be a reputational risk, and asset managers and regulators are increasingly focusing on gender representation on boards and at senior management level. 

Pharmaceutical companies are making poor progress on improving global access to antibiotics, according to a new benchmark report from the Access to Medicine Foundation. Only one third of products examined by the report have any kind of access strategy in place such as price adjustments or licensing agreements for low and middle-income countries, with the authors highlighting Otsuka and Pfizer as the best performers in this area.

Think tank 2 Degrees Investing has launched a new sustainable investment platform for retail investors called ‘MyFairMoney’, which provides investors with a ‘Paris compatibility score’ for more than 3,000 funds.