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ESG round-up: Liechtenstein’s LGT joins Climate Action 100+

The latest developments in sustainable finance: DWS CEO resigns following police raids; AP7 blacklists 14 companies including Adani Enterprises, ConocoPhillips.

LGT, the $314 billion private bank and asset manager owned by the royal family of Liechtenstein, has signed up to Climate Action 100+ as part of a renewed stewardship drive. The firm said it would focus its engagement efforts in the UK on company progress on climate and diversity. It has also signed an agreement with BMO GAM to assist engagement with listed companies on sustainability issues. At the time of publication, LGT had not responded to a query about which CA100+ engagements it intended to join.

DWS chief executive Asoka Woehrmann has resigned following a police raid at the German asset manager on Tuesday related to greenwashing allegations. The executive had come under scrutiny after a whistleblower scandal pointed at DWS misrepresenting its ESG investments, which it denies. Woehrmann had also been accused of using his personal email for business purposes. He will be replaced by Stefan Hoops, who heads corporate banking at Deutsche Bank, at the asset manager’s general meeting next week.

Sweden’s AP7 has blacklisted 14 companies including Adani Enterprises, ConocoPhillips, Imperial Oil and Suncor Energy over their involvement in thermal coal or oil sands, while five companies including Toshiba Corp and Southern Company have been removed from the list as the fund has found “no verified information about ongoing norm violations”. The Swedish fund does not have a sector-wide coal exclusions policy but blacklists companies without credible transition plans, its head of ESG Charlotta Dawidowski Sydstrand said.

The European Securities and Markets Authority has published a supervisory briefing designed to ensure convergence across the EU in the supervision of investment funds with sustainability features. By establishing common criteria for national supervisors, the EU securities markets regulator also aims to combat greenwashing by asset managers. The briefing includes guidance on the supervision of fund documentation and marketing material, as well as guiding principles on the use of sustainability-related terms in funds’ names.

APG, Australian Ethical Investment, LGT Private Banking and OFI AM are among nine new signatories of the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge. Signatories commit to protecting and restoring biodiversity through their finance activities and investments by collaborating and sharing knowledge, engaging with companies, assessing impact, setting targets and public reporting on outcomes ahead of 2025. With the new additions the Pledge now represents €14 trillion in assets, held by 98 signatories.

In related biodiversity news, a handbook containing contributions from more than 30 leading experts across financial institutions, policy, regulation, academia and NGOs has been launched. Edited by Professor Jill Atkins and ESG heavyweight Martina Macpherson, the book presents plans, metrics, frameworks, mechanisms and financial innovations that can be, and are being, implemented through the financial markets in order to save and protect species, and enhance biodiversity.

Clarity AI announced that its sustainability data will be leveraged by BlackRock to help the asset manager prepare for reporting under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation. The tech platform’s data is already integrated into BlackRock’s Aladdin platform.