Daily ESG Briefing: Singapore Exchange to require climate and board diversity reporting

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has announced companies must provide climate reporting on a comply or explain basis from the financial year starting 2022, and that climate reporting will be mandatory for  issuers in a range of sectors from 2023. From next year, issuers also need to set and disclose board diversity policies.  The exchange said the update follows a public consultation on sustainability and board diversity reporting, which received broad support. Separately, a public consultation on 27 proposed core ESG metrics and a portal for issuers to input ESG data also received strong market support, SGX said. These metrics, though not mandated, will be a starting point for what companies can disclose in their sustainability reports, it added.   

US SEC Commissioner Caroline A. Crenshaw has highlighted the importance of disclosure obligations in a recent speech. She said it is “sometimes unclear to me” how companies will achieve their Net Zero goals, “nor is it clear that companies will provide investors with the information they need to assess the merits of these pledges and monitor their implementation over time”. She added: “Investors have noted the importance of understanding how the pledges are being implemented this year, five years from now, and 10 years from now; rather than simply waiting to see if, 30 years from now, the goal of Net Zero emissions comes to fruition. That is too late. So while net-zero emissions pledges are an important step forward, they underscore the loud, repeated, and sustained calls for decision-useful metrics – metrics calculated using reliable and comparable methodologies that enable investors to decide whether the companies mean what they say. That is a core purpose of the SEC’s disclosure obligations.”   

18 institutional investors representing more than £3.8 trillion in assets under management have published a letter urging the UK Government to act on the National Food Strategy’s recommendations to create a healthier and more sustainable food system. Led by Rathbone Greenbank Investments, the coalition is calling on the UK Government to introduce new legislation on mandatory reporting of sales of food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt; sales of protein by type; sales of fruit and vegetables and report on food waste. It also said the UK should consider fiscal interventions and enhanced regulation to promote sustainability in the food system.  

Sustainability advisory firm ERM has acquired software company OPEX Group, which specialises in AI & data science solutions that help carbon intensive industries to reduce emissions.  

The Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB) has launched a new updated Environmental and Social Policy Framework (ESPF) to help boost sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The updated ESPF includes standards on for example gender equality; stakeholder engagement and information disclosure; indigenous peoples; labor and working conditions; assessment and management of environmental and social risks and impacts and biodiversity conservation and cultural heritage.  

Global insured natural catastrophe losses rose to USD 105 billion in 2021, the fourth highest since 1970, according to Swiss Re estimates. Natural catastrophe losses are likely to continue to grow more than global GDP given increases in wealth, urbanisation and climate change, Swiss Re said. “The impact of the natural disasters we have experienced this year once again highlights the need for significant investment in strengthening critical infrastructure to mitigate the impact of extreme weather conditions,” said Jérôme Jean Haegeli, Swiss Re's Group Chief Economist.