ESG round-up: Lack of co-ordination in investor groups ‘is main barrier to effective engagement’

Philippines central bank signs up to the PRI; NYC Comptroller urges entertainment giants to address strikes.

Lack of co-ordination within investor organisations was cited as the biggest barrier to effective investor engagement (27 percent), followed by confidentiality (21 percent) and irrelevant topics/lack of materiality (20 percent), according to a survey conducted this year by Schroders. The UK fund manager polled more than 350 investee companies from 45 countries.

The Philippine central bank has officially joined the PRI, making it the first central bank signatory from the ASEAN region. It joins central banks from France, Hong Kong, Finland and the Netherlands within the network’s broad membership base. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will be required to develop an ESG policy for its investment portfolios as part of its membership. Responsible Investor reported on the BSP’s intention to join the PRI in May.

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander has written to Disney, Comcast and Paramount urging them to address the ongoing strikes by the Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It follows a similar letter by his state compatriot earlier this month to eight US entertainment giants. “Your company… risks financial and reputational harm the longer you refuse to negotiate on core issues facing writers and actors, who enjoy broad support from the public and elected officials,” Lander told the firms last week.

The UN’s working group on business and human rights is seeking input for an upcoming report that will address the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that financial regulations, policies and practices offer to move towards a sustainable finance framework centred on a human rights approach. Responses can be submitted until 30 September and the report will be presented to the 56th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2024.

Asia-Pacific central banks are overlooking coastal threats when carrying out climate stress tests, the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change and Climate Water Risk have warned. The groups called on the region’s supervisors to extend the time horizons they use in order to adequately capture long-term sea level rise risk, and to include low-probability, worst-case scenarios that go beyond current ones in use. Sea level rise is considered a key risk due to the low elevation and relatively flat geography of APAC cities.

Indonesia has pushed back the publication of detailed investment plans for a $20 billion climate transition fund to later this year, Reuters has reported. Policymakers had previously indicated that the allocation of funding would be announced last week. The capital has been raised via a public and private financing initiative known as the Just Energy Transition Partnership, led by the US and Japan, which aims to help countries close down coal plants and decarbonise their economy.

The UK’s national savings bank NS&I has announced a new issue of green savings gilts. Retail investors in the country will be able to get an interest rate of 5.6 percent over three years. The yield on three-year vanilla gilts opened at 4.98 percent, according to data from Barrons.