ESG round-up: SEC, IOSCO and EFRAG involved in sustainability standards body

The latest developments in sustainable finance: EBRD to be Paris Aligned by 1 January; US federal banking regulator scouting for physical climate risk expertise.

Representatives from the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group and the UK’s Financial Reporting Council are among the 13 individuals from around the world appointed to form a Sustainability Standards Advisory Forum (SSAF), which will work with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) towards a comprehensive global baseline of sustainability-related disclosure for capital markets. The SSAF will also benefit from official observers representing the European Commission, IOSCO and the US Securities and Exchange Commission; a Global Reporting Initiative representative will also join meetings when relevant to help inform discussions.

In related news, the ISSB has also agreed to grant a temporary exemption for companies – for a minimum of year – from the obligation to report on their greenhouse gas emissions, relating to Scope 3 emissions.  

Going forward, all the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s investments – whether lending directly to clients or providing indirect financing for sub-projects through financial institutions – will be aligned with and assessed according to climate goals. The multilateral developmental investment bank made the announcement as part of a series of new details on how it will ensure alignment of all its activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement by 1 January 2023.  

The New York State Department of Financial Services’ superintendent Adrienne Harris has proposed new guidance for New York State-regulated banking and mortgage institutions to identify, measure, monitor and control their material climate-related financial risks, consistent with existing risk management principles. According to a statement, the state-level financial regulator also sought to align the guidance with the work of federal and international banking regulators on the management of climate-related financial risk.   

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is scouting for a senior hire to focus on physical risk and join the US federal banking regulator’s Office of Climate Risk. As part of the role, the individual will assist with supervisory examinations of non-commercial banks, savings and loan associations or other financial institutions subject to federal government controls over their organisation and operations. 

US conglomerate 3M has set a 2025 deadline to stop producing dangerous “forever chemicals” that have been linked to cancers, heart problems and low birth weights. According to a statement, the firm’s decision was based on “careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of the evolving external landscape, including multiple factors such as accelerating regulatory trends”. Earlier this month, investors representing $8 trillion in assets under management, wrote to chemical producers calling for the development of phase-out plans for said chemicals.