ESG round-up: EU to launch centralised digital platform for financial and sustainable disclosures

The latest developments in sustainable finance: MAS to consult on inclusion of coal phase-out in taxonomy; New Zealand FMA to launch new guidance for climate-related disclosures regime.

The EU has reached a provisional agreement to launch a European Single Access Point (ESAP) as part of the Capital Markets Union action plan to provide financial and sustainability-related information about EU companies and investment products in one place. The centralised digital platform will store sustainability-related information reported by European companies under EU regulations, but will not require any additional reporting.

The platform will be developed in three phases. From mid-2027, it will include information disclosed according to the short-selling regulation, prospectus regulation and transparency directive. Phase two in January 2028 will see the ESAP incorporate information related to SFDR, credit rating agencies regulations and benchmark regulation. From January 2030, in its final phase, the ESAP should include information from around 20 additional pieces of legislation, including the capital requirements regulation, the markets in financial instruments regulation and the EU green bonds regulation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has announced plans to launch a consultation on the inclusion of managed phase-out of coal-fired power plans in its green taxonomy. The central bank’s chief sustainability officer Gillian Tan was reported saying that the consultation on its draft proposals will be launched in the next few weeks. The move comes in response to the third green taxonomy consultation, which was launched in February. The taxonomy was originally due to be published in the first half of this year.

New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has announced plans to release four new pieces of guidance covering monitoring, third-party providers, record-keeping and scenario analysis in June and July. In a meeting with industry participants last week, FMA’s manager of climate-related disclosures, Jenika Phipps, outlined the requirements that will fall under the regulator’s new climate-related disclosures regime. As the first climate statements are published in 2024, the FMA will support climate reporting entities but will also take enforcement action where they fail to produce a climate statement or where information is false or misleading. There are criminal and civil penalties for those who do not comply.

The rush of exits from the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA) shows no signs of letting up, with Spanish insurer Mapfre, and Japanese insurer MS & AD Holdings leaving the group in recent days. In a statement, MS & AD Holdings said it was withdrawing its support from the UN-backed group, which is part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), but would continue its journey to achieving net zero by 2050 with its stakeholders. As of today (Tuesday), NZIA’s website listed 17 insurer members.

Elsewhere in the GFANZ universe, Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management has joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. The manager has also recently joined the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.

More than 40 environmental organisations across Central and Eastern Europe have called on Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) to introduce an oil and gas policy, as well as a stronger coal policy. The signatories of the open letter come from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. They have asked VIG to immediately stop insuring new and expanded coal, oil and gas projects, to cease insuring any new customers from the fossil fuel sector that are not aligned with a 1.5C pathway, to divest all assets from coil, oil and gas companies which are not aligned with 1.5, and to adopt binding targets in line with 1.5C by July 2023.