Daily ESG Briefing: Utility Snam makes sustainable debt rating legally binding

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Europe’s largest listed utility, Snam, has become the first to make its sustainability rating legally-binding. The firm has issued €2.5bn in debt using the Security Standard Ethics Rating from London-based ratings body Standard Ethics, which legally requires it to remove the label if its ESG rating drops below a certain level. 

A new roadmap on investing in regenerative, ‘nature-positive’ food and land use systems has been launched today by the Blended Finance Taskforce. Better Finance, Better Food, highlights over 50 business models and financial systems around positive food and land use. The report warns the financial risk of inefficient food and land use systems is estimated at $12trn a year, but says reallocating capital to food and land use assets that are good for people and the planet could generate $4.5trn annually in new economic opportunities by 2030. 

Denmark’s AkademikerPension has reportedly divested Chinese surveillance firm Hikvision for not producing a promised report regarding human rights in China’s Xinjiang Province. Jens Munch Holst, CEO of the pension fund for academics, said: ”In short, we have lost patience with the company”. Hikvision has been accused of playing a key role in helping the Chinese government detain the Uighur people in the country. 

NGO BankTrack has claimed in a new report that banks are not properly consulting communities when financing projects under the Equator Principles, and those communities often can’t seek redress over grievances linked to such projects. Trust Us, We’re Equator Banks Part II makes six recommendations for strengthening the Principles, including requiring consent from clients for project name disclosure as part of loan agreements.

Fore Partnership, an ethical real estate investor and developer backed by Ebay co-founder Jeff Skoll, has been accredited as a B-Corporation, meaning it meets high levels of environmental and social performance. There are currently more than 3,500 B Corps worldwide.

State Street CEO and Chairman Ronald O’Hanley, and S&P Global CEO Douglas Peterson are among 30 signatories to a CEO Letter on Disability Inclusion, part of the Disability:IN campaign. The topic is growing for investors, with a coalition calling on companies to be more inclusive of people with disabilities led by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency has joined the International Platform on Sustainable Finance, which is led by the EU and aims to exchange information and identify barriers to sustainable finance at a regulatory and governmental level. 

A new data platform that helps users measure and predict GHG emissions based on UK Government Emission Factors 2020 has launched for beta testing. The Value Xd platform allows users to create and import their own datasets to create analytic dashboards and models.