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ESG round-up: Macron and Bloomberg announce climate data steering committee

The latest developments in sustainable finance: SASB Standards Board recommends changes prior to handover; UK government reveals audit and governance reforms.

A Climate Data Steering Committee has been announced following a meeting between the French president Emmanuel Macron and Michael Bloomberg, the UN special envoy for climate ambition and solutions. The aim of the initiative will be to advise on the creation and design of an open-data public platform that will collect, aggregate and standardise net-zero climate transition data based on private sector climate commitments. The committee will consist of individuals from international organisations, government representatives, regulators and data service providers.

The SASB Standards Board has recommended changes related to three active standard-setting projects. These would involve the addition of disclosure topics in the following areas: content governance in the internet, media and services industry; plastics risks and opportunities in the chemicals industry; and alternative products in the food and beverage sector. The Value Reporting Foundation, which looks after SASB standards, is set to be merged into the IFRS Foundation at the end of this month, after which the stewardship of the SASB standards will pass to the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

The UK government has released its long-awaited response on audit and corporate governance reform. An initial proposal to make company directors personally liable for internal controls over financial reporting has been scrapped and instead redirected for inclusion in the UK corporate governance code. The code only applies to large, listed companies and is not binding. The government also said that FTSE 350 companies will have to offer part of their audit work to a non-Big Four firm, in order to increase competition and reduce corporate failures. Exemptions to this will be negotiated through a new regulator, the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority, which will replace the Financial Reporting Council.

Nasdaq is expanding its ESG data capabilities through the acquisition of Montreal-based Metrio, a privately held provider of ESG data collection, analytics and reporting services. Nasdaq will integrate Metrio as a service platform in its existing ESG offering and monitoring .