ESG Round-up: Danish pensions ditch Russian sovereign bonds

The latest developments in sustainable finance:  Americans favour corporate climate risk reporting; Eurosif joins EFRAG; Japan and Switzerland to chair taxonomy working group.

US financial regulator the SEC has told the Financial Accounting and Standard Board (FASB) that it believes there may be “opportunities” for the accounting body to “take thoughtful action” on climate risks. In a statement, yesterday, responding to the US-based accounting body’s recent agenda consultation, the SEC’s Acting Chief Accountant, Paul Munter, stated that: “we believe there may be opportunities for the FASB to take thoughtful action on targeted areas of accounting, disclosure, and financial reporting that are consistent with the objective of general purpose financial statements, in response to the evolving business environment, transactions, and investor needs regarding climate-related issues. He encouraged FASB to “continue to perform outreach with investors and other stakeholders and to monitor development of climate-related accounting and financial reporting issues.”

More than 80% of Americans are in favour of companies reporting on their climate-related risks, a recent poll by US non-profit Ceres has found. The survey, which revealed that 74% of Republicans also back such disclosure, was undertaken as the US awaits the SEC’s proposed rule on mandatory climate disclosure for publicly traded companies.

Danish pension funds P+, PBU and Pensiondanmark have ditched their Russian sovereign bond holdings following its illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory yesterday, according to reports in Danish financial daily Børsen, with Pensiondanmark also looking to ditch its holdings in Russian state-owned firms. RI reported yesterday that AkademikerPension had placed Russia in “investment quarantine”, meaning it will make no new investments in government bonds or state-owned firms.

Eurosif has joined the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) as a member of its sustainability reporting pillar. The European sustainable finance forum joins 30 other members of the pillar, which advises EFRAG in its role as technical adviser to the European Commission on sustainability reporting standards.

Switzerland, Japan and the EU have been named as co-chairs of a new EU working group which will explore how to integrate transition considerations within sustainable finance tools such as “taxonomies, labels and portfolio alignment metrics”. The working group has been established under the International Platform on Sustainable Finance, a key EU initiative aiming to influence the development of a common global approach to sustainable finance. Japan has long argued that funding the low-carbon transition should be a priority equal to green and sustainable investing, and is developing requirements for local companies to publicly adopt transition plans.