ESG round-up: SBTi launches first science-based net-zero roadmap for financial institutions

The latest developments in sustainable finance: NZIA developing target-setting protocol for insurance underwriting portfolios, United States support Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance.

The Science Based Targets initiative launched its net-zero finance standard development process this week with the publication of its Foundation Paper on Net-Zero for Financial Institutions. The paper, aimed at banks, asset owners, asset managers and other financial institutions, tackles key issues facing the sector, including defining net zero, the use of offsets and fossil fuel phase-out. Over the next year, SBTi will develop its standard for financial institutions through multi-stakeholder consultations, road-testing of methodologies, and a technical review with a Financial Net-Zero Expert Advisory Group.

Alongside this, SBTi is working with the Net Zero Insurance Alliance in developing a target-setting protocol for insurance underwriting portfolios. In a white paper, the NZIA said it plans to publish the protocol by January 2023. 

John Kerry announced US support for the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance at the Our Ocean Conference, taking place in Palau. ORRAA aims to bring together the finance and insurance sectors, governments, non-profits and stakeholders from the Global South to pioneer finance and insurance products that incentivise investment into nature-based solutions in coastal and marine areas. Already Canada and the United Kingdom have backed the Alliance. 

Deloitte has announced that it will invest $1 billion into its global sustainability and climate practice. Part of the additional funding will go to the newly launched Deloitte Centre for Sustainable Progress. In collaboration with leading academic, policy, business and governmental organisations, the DCSP network will focus on holistic, results-oriented thought leadership, data-driven analysis and accountability reporting to guide organisations through their sustainability journeys. 

Spending on ESG research specialists has doubled over the last three years, according to a survey of 40 asset managers by Substantive Research. However, it still only commands just under 1 percent of the average research budget, having increased from 0.47 percent to 0.95 percent of the average research budget from 2019 to 2021.