SDGs Briefing: The latest news and research on the Goals

Updates from Refinitiv, Truvalue Labs, Worcestershire Pension Fund and more

Worcestershire Pension Fund has selected UK proxy house and ESG advisor Minerva to undertake an ‘ESG stocktake’ of its portfolio and map its impacts across several SDGs. Minerva’s appointment was announced by the UK local government pension scheme following a search over the summer. Its audit will be used by Worcestershire to inform future investment decisions and enable it to challenge asset managers on their ESG credentials.

Refinitiv has launched a dataset assessing the performance of sovereign bond issuers on the SDGs and their sub-targets. The data provider’s Country Sustainable Development Goals covers 210 countries and 148 metrics that support the SDGs. Norway, the UK, Switzerland, Sweden and The Netherlands have taken the top five spots in the ranking at its launch. “Sovereign issuance of capital is a critical component of sustainable financing and being able to quantify, for the purposes of investment allocation decisions, the ESG footprint of countries as well of companies makes this enhancement an important augmentation of the assets that Refinitiv continues to bring to bear to support the mainstreaming of ESG data into financial markets,” said Leon Saunders Calvert, Head of Sustainable Investing. 

Truvalue Labs has launched data measuring how more than 19,000 public and private companies align with, or hinder, the SDGs – using “real-world actions and impacts”. The ESG data provider, which is due to be acquired by FactSet by the end of the year, claims the data is an industry first because SDG alignment is typically measured by revenues. A second dataset, Truvalue SDG Spotlight Events, uses an algorithm to identify the most impactful positive and negative events for each SDG.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has issued new guidance for private equity funds on contributing to the SDGs. The SDG Impact Standards for Private Equity Funds, with help from industry experts, will be supplemented with a voluntary assurance framework that will include an SDG Impact Seal to recognise best practice. Alongside this, the first draft of the SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises – aimed at enterprises of any size committed to contributing to sustainable development – is available for public consultation until December 15th. 

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has launched the SDG Essentials for Business learning platform to help companies raise awareness and understanding of the SDGs within their organisations, and support their staff in making contributions to the Goals.

The Responsible Mining Foundation and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment have produced a study looking at how mining companies are addressing the SDGs. The research covers 38 companies and concluded that there is a disconnect between words and actions in the industry. However, it praises some projects – ArcelorMittal’s Serra Azul mine in Brazil, Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres mine in Chile and Glencore’s Mount Isa Mines in Australia – for their efforts. It recommends that firms improve on their contribution to the SDGs by making responsible mining core to their business models, resourcing sustainability departments and using SDG targets and indicators to set measurable targets.