GFANZ-backed climate data project seeks financial institutions and auditors

The initiative hopes to address global gaps in climate transition data.

A global initiative to collect corporate climate data is seeking stakeholder representation as it gears up to launch a prototype by 2023.

French president Emmanuel Macron and businessman Michael Bloomberg first announced plans to build a data library that would monitor business climate performance earlier this year, named the Net Zero Data Public Utility (NZDPU). It will be transferred to the UN once complete.

A plethora of major regulatory institutions and standard setters have been named to the utility’s steering committee – including the ISSB, Europe’s EFRAG, global regulatory body IOSCO and green central banking body the NGFS – in addition to leading commercial data providers such as Moody’s, Morningstar, S&P and MSCI.

The committee has now put out a call for financial sector participants including banks, asset owners and managers, brokerage firms and providers of auditing and verification services. The two stakeholder focus groups will provide feedback on topics such as disclosure incentives, interoperability of global disclosure standards, proof of assurance and associated standards, and product usability.

New members will be accepted on a rolling basis, with work on those topics expected to kick-off this month and to continue until the release of a prototype by COP28 next year. Members will be involved in beta testing the tool ahead of the 2023 climate summit to improve usability and functionality.

The initiative’s secretariat is GFANZ, the Mark Carney-led climate coalition now under scrutiny for dropping mandatory target-setting requirements, which also doubles up as a member. Several GFANZ staff, including data strategy head Simone Kramer, have been seconded to oversee the initiative.

“We’re not seeking to release the feedback of the working groups for public feedback at this stage to ensure that we can have conversations where participants can be open about their needs and help us understand their specific use cases,” said Kramer.

“The focus groups aren’t providing formal recommendations. You can think about it from a standard product development process where it’s very common to bring in users and clients of a solution to ensure that it’s meeting their needs.”

Climate metrics currently being proposed for inclusion in the hub cover Scope 1 to 3 corporate emissions data and net-zero targets and plans. Emissions data remains inaccessible and incomplete for many issuers despite the information being a key climate metric.

The committee is due to put out a tender for the technical resources to build the utility at COP27 next week.

ESG data initiative OS-Climate has previously indicated it is eyeing opportunities to support regulators in their development of ESG data hubs. The initiative, which is the first of its kind to implement an open-source ESG data platform, has already attracted big names including Allianz, S&P Global, Goldman Sachs, Federated Hermes, the London Stock Exchange Group, Microsoft and Amazon.

The NZDPU is the latest initiative to emerge from the collaborative climate data space, following the EU’s sustainability data repository ESAP, Hong Kong’s GSF data repository, OS Climate and the legacy CDP disclosure library.