ESG round-up: Singapore’s DBS steps up on sector decarbonisation targets

The latest developments in sustainable finance: Stock exchanges cite business and economic concerns as biggest barrier to sustainability; SBTN opens consultation on nature.

DBS, the largest lender in Southeast Asia, has announced seven sector-based decarbonisation targets aligned to its institutional pledge to wipe out emissions resulting from its financing activities by 2050. The targets cover loans, investments and capital market activities, adding up to one of the most comprehensive net-zero pledges to be put forward by a bank. Six of the decarbonisation targets are intensity-based and will apply to energy, automotive, aviation, shipping, steel and real estate; the remaining target is based on absolute emissions and covers oil and gas. The targets track net-zero trajectories issued by the International Energy Agency and other industry bodies.

Global stock exchanges cited business and economic concerns as the biggest barrier to taking part in sustainability initiatives, according to the World Federation of Exchanges’ annual sustainability survey. Close to 40 percent of exchanges surveyed identified business and economic concerns as a barrier, while the number who said there was insufficient demand fell from 31 percent to 25 percent. Lack of support from the board of directors saw the biggest growth as a factor, rising from 2 percent to 8 percent.

The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) will open a month-long public consultation period for technical guidance on science-based targets for nature on Thursday. The guidance will focus on helping companies assess and prioritise their environmental impacts ahead of setting targets, starting with freshwater. Once finalised, it will form the basis of SBTN’s first release of targets in early 2023, which will include initial target-setting resources on freshwater as well as land to complement those on climate from the Science Based Targets initiative.

The PRI has had 114 signatories delist since providing their 2021 reporting data. The initiative, which booted out five investors in 2020 for not meeting its minimum standards, said that signatories had delisted for a number of reasons, but that the majority had been due to mergers with another organisation.

Nordic sustainability advisory firm Position Green has acquired an ESG due diligence provider co-founded by a former CIO at NBIM. Klinkby Enge was co-founded by Anders Klinkby, previously CEO of the Danish Investment Fund Association, and Bengt Enge, who spent just under two years in the NBIM role. The firm offers ESG due diligence services and ESG data for private assets, as well as sustainable investing consultancy.