ESG Round-up: Nest to support Unilever health resolution

The latest developments in sustainable finance: Eurosif on EU green bond standard, NBIM on ISSB

The £23bn UK pension scheme Nest has said it plans to support a resolution filed at Unilever by ShareAction calling on it to disclose the current proportion of sales linked to healthier products and set targets to “significantly increase” that share by 2030, as well as reporting annually on progress. 

Norges Bank Investment Management has said that it “hopes” that the corporate reporting standards being developed by the recently formed International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) will also cover social matters “as there is a real need for global and comprehensive standards for reporting on social issues”. The investment giant made the comments responding to the recent consultation by the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB), the standards body that was recently absorbed International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as part of the creation of the ISSB.   

An amendment has been introduced to the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices bill in the UK which would prevent Local Government Pension Schemes from divesting investments linked to Israel. The amendment, introduced by Conservative MP Robert Jenrick, would prevent schemes from making investment decisions “that conflict with the UK’s foreign and defence policy”. Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb, now a Partner at consultancy LCP, said: “It would be quite unacceptable for the Government to tell trustees of private sector DB schemes that their investment strategy has to be compatible with the Government’s foreign policy, yet this appears to be what this amendment would do for those who manage public sector schemes. Trustees should be free to act in the best interests of members in both public and private sector schemes, without being constrained by the wider policy objectives of the Government of the day”. 

European sustainable investment forum Eurosif has said that the EU green bond standard should be voluntary for all public and private issuers. In a new position paper, Eurosif said that issuers active in the natural gas and nuclear power sectors should be required to disclose net zero plans in order to be eligible for the standard, and that grandfathering rights should be introduced for EU green bonds to maturity, in order to prevent changes to taxonomy criteria creating uncertainty in the green bond market.