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ESG round-up: Van Hoorn leaves Eurosif, California diversity law struck down

The latest developments in sustainable finance: Deutsche Bank commits to not finance pipeline; GRESB releases real estate ESG tools.

Victor van Hoorn is to step down as head of the European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif) this summer after less than two years in the role. He was appointed to the position in September 2020 following a strategic review at Eurosif, having previously headed the financial services practice at the Brussels office of public relations firm Hume Brophy. Van Hoorn has been named the incoming lead for the Investment Company Institute’s European operations. ICI, and its incorporated arm ICI Global, is an industry group representing the global fund industry. “Victor’s experience in advocating before European policymakers will be invaluable as ICI Global expands its presence in Brussels and broadens its engagement in the EU on behalf of our members and investors around the world,” said ICI Global chief Michael Pedroni. Eurosif has begun recruiting for a successor.

A Los Angeles judge has struck down a state law requiring listed companies to include women on their boards, deeming it unconstitutional. The case was brought by three Californian residents and backed by conservative legal group Judicial Watch. State senate leader Toni Atkins said: “This disappointing ruling is a reminder that sometimes our legalities don’t match our realities. More women on corporate boards means better decisions and businesses that outperform the competition – that’s a studied, proven fact.”

Reuters has reported that Deutsche Bank will not finance the planned $3.5 billion East African Crude Oil Pipeline. The controversial project is opposed on environmental grounds by local groups and NGOs. Allianz recently became the seventh insurer to commit to not providing cover for the pipeline, following similar moves by Munich Re, Hannover Re and SCOR.

GRESB, the EU-based provider of ESG data and benchmarks for real assets, has released two tools focused on transition risk and TCFD-alignment, respectively. The Transition Risk Report provides data on real estate assets which are most exposed to transition risk based on GRESB’s annual real estate assessment, while the TCFD Alignment Report measures an entity’s compliance with the TCFD reporting framework. In 2021, a record 1,520 entities participated in GRESB’s assessment.

Italian utility Eni is set to open a rouble account with Gazprombank in defiance of EU sanctions against Moscow, the Financial Times reported. The account will be used to purchase Russian gas from state-controlled Gazprom. Russia supplies around 40 percent of Italy’s total gas imports.