Daily ESG Briefing: World Bank accused of greenwashing on climate adaptation

The latest developments in sustainable finance

The World Bank has been accused of mischaracterising its spending on climate adaptation in a scathing new report from CARE International. Climate Adaptation Finance: Fact or Fiction? claims the World Bank “over-reported” its investment in projects that support developing countries to tackle the physical fall out from climate change by $832m. One $328m project has 86% of its budget labelled as “finance for climate-change adaptation”, according to CARE International, which says that in reality the initiative covers a geohazard that is “unrelated to climate change”. The World Bank had not responded to RI's request for comment at the time of publication. Public bodies in Japan are accused of “over-reporting” climate adaptation finance by more than $1.3bn in the report, with the NGO claiming the country’s figures include $432m for projects including a ‘Friendship Bridge’ and an expressway in Vietnam. France also comes under fire for allegedly including a $93m financing programme in the Philippines in its climate adaptation funding, even though it includes just 5% allocation to climate adaptation objectives.     

UK supermarket group Tesco has launched a €750m sustainability-linked bond. The company claims to have been the first business globally to commit to a zero-carbon goal, back in 2009, and currently sources 97% of its electricity from renewable sources. The 8.5-year bond is aligned to a Sustainability Performance Target of a 60% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 Emissions against Tesco’s 2015 baseline by 2025. It offers a coupon of 0.375% and has a second-party opinion from Sustainalytics. 

The Global Reporting Initiative has released updated guidance for firms on reporting their progress in supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. The resource gives a breakdown of each of the 17 goals and maps how they link to disclosure standards issued by the GRI. 

Real estate investors CEG, Orchard Street Investment Management and Savills Investment Management have joined the Better Buildings Partnership – a UK-based initiative to improve the sustainability credentials of existing commercial properties. 

The Financial Centres for Sustainability Network has released the results of its Annual Assessment survey. Based on responses from 24 of its 30 members, the survey found that financial centres had made significant sustainability progress in recent years, but the quality and availability of data remains a significant problem for many centres. 

UK development finance institution CDC Group has announced that it will invest over $1bn in Africa over the course of 2021, matching its level of investment in 2020. The group, which describes itself as an “impact investor”, plans to expand its investments in key markets including Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria. Among the deals announced by the group in 2020 was a $750m biopharmaceutical platform, which aimed to broaden access to generic pharmaceuticals across the continent. Foreign Direct Investment in Africa is predicted to have dropped by 30% over the last year.