Daily ESG Briefing: US investors back calls to ban Chinese imports over human rights concerns

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and the Investor Alliance for Human Rights are among those backing a formal petition with US Customs and Border Patrol, urging it to ban cotton-made goods linked to the Xinjiang region of China. The move has been prompted by high-profile allegations of forced labour and human rights abuses against ethnic Muslim populations in the region. And last month, over 200 human and labour rights and investor organisations launched a campaign, End Uyghur Forced Labor, calling on global corporations to divest from the region. 

The Linux Foundation says it will host the OS-Climate platform – an open-source climate data tool in development by the Science-Based Targets initiative, Ortec Finance and OS-Climate. It will run the project through a new venture, the LF Climate Finance Foundation, Allianz, Amazon, Microsoft, and S&P Global have so far committed to be founding members of the OS-Climate platform.

CalSTRS, the California State Teachers Retirement System, has come under fire by Fossil Free California, a non-profit founded by Californian teachers, for its $6bn investment in the fossil fuel industry. The group issued a ‘Climate-Competence Report Card’ for the fund based on its fossil fuel investments, coal divestment policy, exposure to climate risk and engagement on climate. It ‘failed’ the pension system on a number of competency categories. “A fund which claims to make business and investment decisions based on ESG implications should score much, much higher on all of these metrics,” said Vanessa Warheit, Executive Director of Fossil Free California. More than 142,000 teachers have signed petitions urging CalSTRS to divest from fossil fuels.

Lloyd’s of London is the subject of a new campaign to drop coal and tar sands, as well as oil and gas. Insure Our Future, a coalition of NGOs, has launched the campaign, criticising the market for undermining the positive climate action of some of its insurers.

The City of London Corporation, the governing body in charge of London’s financial district, has launched a three-month consultation about whether statues and other landmarks that have links to slavery and racism should be taken down, re-sited, reinterpreted or retained.

Comerica has joined the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF). The industry-led partnership is developing a global approach to assessing and disclosing emissions linked to loans and investments in the banking sector. More than 70 global banks have now joined PCAF – most recently NatWest, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, and CitiGroup.