Daily ESG Briefing: Mandates for Robeco and NNIP

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Robeco has been awarded a £75m mandate by the UK’s National Trust. The sum is seed investment for Robeco’s Climate Global Credits Fund, which invests in global corporate bonds with explicit climate targets. Robeco says that the strategy starts with a 50% lower carbon footprint than the wider corporate bond market and aims to decarbonise 7% per year.

NN Investment Partners has won a listed-impact mandate from Norwegian Gjensidige Pensjonsforsikring following a call for proposals on the Global Fund Search platform. The Norwegian pension fund seeks to develop new pension profiles with a clear ESG focus.

Sumitomo has announced that it will exit the thermal coal mining business by 2030. The Japanese trading house also plans to exit the coal-fired power business in the 2040s by making no new investments. In its business plan, unveiled on Friday, Sumitomo announced plans to cut its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2035.

More than half of private equity investors have turned down an investment or refused to enter an agreement on ESG grounds, according to PwC’s Private Equity Responsible Investment Survey of more than 200 investors. Its annual survey noted that 56% of respondents said ESG “features in board meetings more than once a year”, up from just over one-third of respondents last year. Most respondents (91%) consider climate risk as a concern, but 47% have not yet undertaken any work around understanding how their portfolios are exposed to climate risk. 

The UK charities regulator is being taken to court by two UK charities seeking clarification on responsible investment law. The two unnamed charities were granted permission to bring the case before the High Court in the middle of April, according to a release on the Charity Commission website. In April, the regulator launched a consultation on updated advice for charities on responsible investment, after a January ‘listening exercise’ found “a perception that the Commission does not accept that trustees can comply with their duties fully if they adopt a responsible investment approach”.

Dutch asset manager ASN Beleggingsfondsen has announced a rebrand as ASN Impact Investors. The firm said that increasing demand from foreign distribution companies was behind the change to an English name, and that all of its active funds fall under Article 9 of the EU SFDR.

The Green Finance Platform, International Network for Sustainable Financial Policy Insights, Research, and Exchange and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment have launched a new working group on sustainable finance policy. The group aims to “support financial policymakers in the design of finance measures that will create positive impact in the real economy and facilitate the transition to sustainability”. Members will assess policy and regulatory effectiveness across markets and environmental and economic variables.

The UK Corporate Governance Code has increased reporting on remuneration practices, according to research by the Financial Reporting Council. The UK regulator found that since the introduction of the corporate governance code in 2018, FTSE350 companies are disclosing more information on remuneration, and that a majority of companies reported that they linked individual rewards to strategy and long term performance. However, the FRC also found that many company reports simply used boilerplate wording and lacked detail.