ESG round-up: ILN and US Treasury partner with investors on emerging market finance

UK regulator working on investor sustainability preferences policy; BlackRock's Fink says he has dropped the use of the term ESG.

The Investor Leadership Network (ILN) and the US Treasury have partnered with CDPQ, Natixis Investment Managers and Ninety One on a new commitment to accelerate investment in sustainable infrastructure and the net-zero transition in emerging economies. The group will focus on increasing access to data and developing mechanisms to facilitate investments, and aims to “broaden and deepen” private sector financing including via co-investments with multilateral development banks. ILN will aim to launch a working group before COP28.

UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is working on developing a policy on investor sustainability preferences akin to MiFID II in Europe, which establishes requirements for investment advisers discussing ESG products with retail clients. The FCA is currently engaging stakeholders to inform its position and will set out specific timings in due course.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has condemned the misuse of the term ESG by the “far left and far right”, and said that he has stopped using it as it has become “entirely weaponised”. In comments reported by the Times at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Fink said his closely scrutinised annual letters had never intended to be political, but that the firm has not changed its stance on ESG.

The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said it plans to organise roundtables on fiduciary duty for pension schemes later this year after the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association and four schemes called for greater clarity on fiduciary duty as it relates to ESG. A spokesperson for the DWP told Responsible Investor: “We are gathering evidence to understand what barriers currently exist for trustees in considering all ESG factors. As part of this we will organise roundtables on fiduciary duty later this year and we will ensure that all these insights feed into our wider stewardship review.” A spokesperson for the Pensions Regulator declined to comment, but RI understands that it supports planned action to clarify fiduciary duty for trustees in the net-zero context.

In other UK regulatory news, the Department for Business and Trade and the Financial Reporting Council have extended the call for a chair and members of the country’s Sustainability Disclosure Technical Advisory Committee to 2 July.

European exchange-traded fund (ETF) specialist Tabula Investment Management has launched an Article 9 fund investing in high-yield bonds. The ETF, which tracks a Bloomberg MSCI Paris-aligned benchmark, invests in fallen angels – issuers who have fallen below investment grade. The fund has been seeded with $50 million from an unnamed “large Nordic institution”.

The UK’s Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT), which has been tasked with developing a gold standard for transition plans from UK financial institutions and corporates, is looking to appoint a company to oversee its work on applying transition planning to emerging and developing markets. The project will include identifying emerging practice and knowledge gaps to be filled. Applicants can email