ESG round-up: Greenwashing claims ‘don’t distinguish between enterprise value creation and impact materiality’, ESMA warns ISSB

The latest updates in sustainable finance: Mizuho appoints first ever CSO, three new managers sign up to Asian utilities engagement programme.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has urged the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to capture the “impact perspective” when devising sustainability standards. ISSB’s new draft standards focus on enterprise value – the impact of sustainability issues on a company’s bottom line – whereas the EU is pursuing a wider, ‘double materiality’ approach that seeks to also address a company’s sustainability impacts. In its response to a consultation on the draft, ESMA stated that greenwashing claims “do not necessarily distinguish between ‘enterprise value creation’ and ‘impact materiality’”, adding, “It is, therefore, important that in the corporate disclosures domain the impact perspective is also adequately captured”.

Mizuho has appointed its first ever chief sustainability officer as it establishes two new sustainability departments within the group. Yasuhiko Ushikubo has been promoted from his current position as head of the research and consulting unit to the new role, which he will take up from 1 September. The bank also plans to set up a sustainable business promotion department and a sustainability planning department, which will focus on “planning with regard to sustainable business” and “policy establishment”, respectively.

Singapore’s Temasek will raise its internal carbon price from $42 to $50 this year, according to reports in the Straits Times. At its annual review on Tuesday, the state-owned investment company said that it expected to increase the price progressively to $100 by the end of the decade.

Nikko Asset Management, Fullerton Asset Management and UOB Asset Management have signed up to engage utilities in Asia on climate change. The three managers join 13 other investors on a programme coordinated by the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, bringing the total assets involved to $10 trillion. The initiative is targeting five utilities across China, Japan and Malaysia, with a further two – China’s Huaneng Power International and Indonesia’s PLN – soon to be added to the list.

The Financial Stability Board has issued an update on its work on climate risk, outlining progress on firm-level disclosures, data, vulnerabilities analysis and regulatory practices. The document comes a year after the body published its roadmap on climate risk.

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures launched a “catalyst” to identify shortcomings in current nature-related data and analytics this week. The taskforce has until 2023 to develop a framework for companies and financial institutions to assess, manage and report on their dependencies and impacts on biodiversity. Through a series of workshops, the new catalyst seeks to improve the ease, speed and scale of adoption of the framework. Providers of sustainability data, analytics and tools are invited to apply to join the new initiative. This week also saw the International Monetary Fund under pressure over nature-related risk. Finance for Biodiversity and the SOAS Centre for Sustainable Finance said the fund must integrate such risk into its official debt analysis to avoid “misdiagnos[ing] the true risks to debt sustainability, leading to erroneous policy recommendations and increasing the risk of avoidable debt crises”.