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ESG round-up: Nasdaq pushes back against SEC climate rule proposal

The latest developments in sustainable finance: World Bank publishes bond impact report; IFC launches consultation on biodiversity finance reference guide.

Nasdaq has pushed back against the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed climate rule, which would introduce mandatory disclosure of emissions by listed US firms. The US stock exchange “strongly” encouraged the financial regulator to “consider adopting a comply-or-explain framework, or mandatory disclosures only for certain issuers, rather than compelling mandatory disclosures for all issuers”.

Nasdaq polled 263 public companies and found that 64 percent favour a comply-or-explain approach and 79 percent support a more gradual phase-in period of climate disclosures. “[W]e are concerned that the proposal would impose additional complexity, costs and burdens on issuers, suppliers, and ultimately, investors, and thereby undermine the Commission’s core goals,” Nasdaq wrote.  

The lending arm of the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, mobilised record financing through sustainable development bonds and green bonds last year, with $31 billion in new commitments and $24 billion in disbursements, according to its annual impact report. In total, bonds in 2021 supported 723 IBRD projects, helping to train and recruit 493,000 teachers and providing 4.4 million people with essential health, nutrition and population services.  

The International Finance Corporation has launched a consultation on what it bills as the first draft of the Biodiversity Finance Reference Guide. Building on the Green Bond Principles and the Green Loan Principles, the guide aims to provide an indicative list of investment activities and components that help protect, maintain or enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as sustainably manage natural resources through practices that fuse conservation needs with sustainable development. Respondents have until 15 July to provide feedback. 

Bank of China has issued a $500m three-year green note through its Frankfurt branch, which Linklaters – which acted as the international legal advisor – claims to be the world’s first ever debt instrument issued in accordance with the updated Common Ground Taxonomy. The updated CGT was published by the International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF) Taxonomy Working Group, a joint initiative between China and the EU, in June.