ESG round-up: US treasurers warn of worsened labour conditions in Kroger-Albertsons merger

Kiwi banks lag on climate disclosures; FCA to consult on ESG disclosures for securitisation market.

Seven US state treasurers have written to the Federal Trade Commission to oppose a proposed merger between grocery chains Kroger and Albertsons. The letter, whose signatories include treasurers for Massachusetts, Washington and Delaware, warns that the merger could result in worsened worker conditions via reduced competition. It cites a study from the Economic Policy Institute which found the merger could result in a loss of $334 million in wages and could also harm the ability of workers to unionise and organise.

Around half of New Zealand’s banks have not yet carried out climate scenario analysis less than a year before they will be required to do so, according the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ). The supervisor conducted a voluntary survey of banks under its remit in Q2 2023 to assess their readiness for mandatory climate-reporting requirements, which are due to come in next year. Of the 29 banks that responded, only three said they “fully embedded” climate factors in their decision-making in the same manner as other business risks.

Companies acting on water security could unlock $2.3 trillion in commercial opportunities, according to new research by CDP. The study looked at self-reported financial value from around 600 companies that report to CDP, including Hewlett Packard, Mars, L’Oreal and Nissan, and found $1.7 trillion in reported opportunities in new products and services, $328 billion in new water-related markets, and $231 billion in cost savings from improved resilience to extreme weather.

Shareholder activism group Just Share and the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism have launched a campaign to promote transparency on corporate lobbying in South Africa. The pair have filed requests under freedom of information laws in the country looking for details of closed-door meetings between industry and government on the Just Transition, South Africa’s energy mix, the regulatory and policy approach to mitigation and adaptation, and infrastructure and resource exploration opportunities. Requests have been sent to four government bodies, three industry associations and Sasol.

The UK FCA is due to consult stakeholders over ESG disclosure requirements for the securitisation market in the coming weeks. The regulator has already launched a broader consultation on how the FCA and Prudential Regulation Authority should look to regulate securitised assets following the repeal of EU law on the topic. The FCA said it will put disclosure templates, including for ESG, up for market feedback soon.

A new report from the Access to Medicine Foundation (AMF) has set out best practices for the pharmaceutical sector on curbing antimicrobial resistance. Makers of antibiotics could be fuelling the rise of drug resistant bacteria by dumping their wastewater into rivers and waterways, according to AMF. The report provides case studies from manufacturers of different sizes on responsible manufacturing practices and identifies opportunities for improvement.