ESG International Weekly News 7/24-7/30

August 01,2023
Resources: ESG Today
1. Republicans Propose New Series of Anti-ESG Reporting and Investing Laws

Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee in the U.S. Congress have introduced a series of bills aimed at countering the influence of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives in capital and financial markets. The proposals seek to impede the implementation of ESG and climate-related disclosure requirements on companies and restrict investors' engagement on sustainability issues. The bills suggest that companies report only on issues they consider material, exclude ESG-related shareholder proposals from proxy materials, and limit regulators' collaboration on climate-related financial risk. The move is part of a larger effort by Republicans to address what they see as threats posed by ESG initiatives to the American financial system. The bills include the GUARDRAIL Act, aimed at the SEC's climate-related disclosure rules, and the Protecting Americans' Retirement Savings from Politics Act, which makes it harder for investors to address ESG issues through shareholder proposals. Other bills, like the American FIRST Act and the Businesses Over Activists Act, further target the SEC's control over shareholder proposals and interactions with climate-related organizations.

2. IOSCO Calls on Regulators to Incorporate New IFRS Sustainability Reporting Standards
   IOSCO (International Organization of Securities Commissions) 呼籲監管機構納入新的國際財務報告準則(IFRS)可持續發展報告標準

IOSCO, the leading international forum and standards setter for securities regulators, officially endorsed the new IFRS sustainability and climate-related disclosure standards. This move is seen as a significant step towards consistent, comparable, and reliable sustainability information. Now, IOSCO is urging its 130 member jurisdictions, which regulate over 95% of global financial markets, to consider incorporating these new standards into their regulatory frameworks. The endorsement follows the publication of the new global standards for sustainability and climate reporting by the IFRS Foundation's International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). IOSCO had previously signaled support for the ISSB project and has now determined that the standards are appropriate to serve as a global framework for capital markets. This endorsement is expected to facilitate access to reliable sustainability-related information, enabling investors to assess sustainability risks and opportunities and make informed investment decisions. The IFRS Foundation is also planning an Adoption Guide to support regulatory implementation of the new standards.

3. India Announces New Disclosure & Investment Rules for ESG Funds

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has issued new rules for ESG investment funds in the country. ESG funds are now required to have at least 80% of their assets invested in securities aligned with their specific strategies. Asset managers must provide monthly ESG scores for holdings. SEBI has introduced a new ESG investment sub-category, allowing mutual funds to offer multiple ESG schemes to investors. The measures aim to facilitate green financing and enhance disclosures while mitigating the risk of greenwashing. Under the new rules, asset managers can offer various ESG funds with defined strategies. The disclosure requirements include clear ESG strategy names, monthly portfolio statements with BRSR scores, and disclosure of voting decisions made for ESG reasons. Fund managers must provide annual commentary on the application of ESG strategies, engagement activities, and outcomes. Asset managers are also required to obtain independent assurance and board certification for compliance with regulatory requirements for their ESG schemes.

4. Walmart, PepsiCo to Invest $120 Million in Regenerative Agriculture

Walmart and PepsiCo have announced a strategic collaboration to promote regenerative agriculture practices across more than 2 million acres of farmland in the U.S. and Canada. The companies plan to invest $120 million to support farmers in improving soil health and water quality. Regenerative agriculture aims to address the environmental impact of the sector by restoring ecosystems, enhancing soil health, reducing emissions, and promoting biodiversity. The initiative targets approximately 4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals by 2030. The collaboration aims to elevate farmer livelihoods, engage them in sustainable soil management, and increase yields. This partnership is a significant step towards sustainable agriculture and inspiring others to invest in regenerative practices.

5. SAP Asks Top Suppliers to Report Product-Level Emissions by 2027

SAP, a leading enterprise application software company, announced its plan to establish a multi-phased supply chain engagement program by 2024 to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its upstream value chain. The program includes a goal for each of its top 100 suppliers to report their company-wide and product-level emissions for key products by 2027. This initiative aligns with SAP's commitment to achieve net-zero emissions across its value chain by 2030. Scope 3 emissions, which include upstream categories like purchased goods and services, account for about 97% of the company's gross value chain emissions footprint. SAP will collaborate with suppliers to track and record product-level emissions while integrating environmental considerations into the procurement process through a new sustainability classification system and environmental impact criteria.

6. Australia Regulator Launches Greenwashing Suit Against Vanguard

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), the country's corporate, markets, and financial services regulator, has taken legal action against Vanguard Investments Australia, accusing the investment manager of making false and misleading claims about one of its ESG funds. ASIC alleges that the Vanguard Ethically Conscious Global Aggregate Bond Index Fund, launched in 2018, did not exclude investments in fossil fuel-related companies as claimed. Instead, the fund invested in companies with ties to fossil fuels, contrary to its stated ESG strategy. ASIC asserts that Vanguard misled the public in various statements, including product disclosure statements and media releases. This lawsuit is part of ASIC's efforts to address greenwashing in the financial services industry, emphasizing the need for companies to uphold promises made about ESG exclusions in their investments. Vanguard has acknowledged the issue and has taken steps to enhance its product disclosure process and ESG management.

7. Canada to Phase Out Public Fossil Fuel Financing

The Government of Canada introduced initiatives to reduce support for the fossil fuel sector, including a new framework to eliminate "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies. The framework sets criteria for subsidies to meet in order to be considered efficient, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting clean energy. The government aims to align public finance with climate and energy priorities. Canada will identify current public financing and develop a plan to phase out fossil fuel sector financing beyond the subsidy elimination commitment. Environmental groups welcomed the announcement but urge the government to close gaps in the framework to ensure public funds support climate solutions.

8. Goldman Sachs Launches New Green and Impact Bond Funds
   高盛(Goldman Sachs)推出了新的綠色和影響債券基金

Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) has announced the launch of two new sustainable bond funds, the Goldman Sachs Global Impact Corporate Bond Fund and the Goldman Sachs USD Green Bond Fund. These funds aim to allow investors to enhance the sustainability profiles of their portfolios by allocating to green, social, and sustainability bonds. The move comes in response to the significant growth in the sustainable bond market in recent years, with companies and governments increasingly turning to sustainable bonds to finance their climate, environmental, and social initiatives. Last year, such bonds accounted for a record 13% share of global bond issuance. The funds will be managed by a dedicated team within GSAM, utilizing the firm's proprietary green and impact bonds assessment methodology to select bonds that support impactful environmental, social, or sustainability projects. Both funds will make disclosures under Article 9 of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). Hilary Lopez, Head of EMEA Third Party Wealth at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, highlighted that investors are increasingly interested in directing their capital towards companies addressing social and environmental challenges, and these funds provide opportunities to do so while diversifying their fixed income portfolios.
高盛資產管理公司(GSAM)宣布推出兩款新的可持續債券基金,分別為高盛全球影響企業債券基金和高盛美元綠色債券基金。這些基金旨在讓投資者通過配置綠色、社會和可持續債券來提升其投資組合的可持續性。此舉是對可持續債券市場近年來顯著增長的回應,各公司和政府越來越多地採用可持續債券來為其氣候、環境和社會計劃提供融資。去年,此類債券在全球債券發行中佔比創下13%的紀錄。這些基金將由GSAM內專門團隊管理,利用公司獨有的綠色和影響債券評估方法來選擇支持環境、社會或可持續項目的債券。兩款基金都將遵循可持續金融披露規例(SFDR)第9條的披露要求。高盛資產管理公司歐洲、中東和非洲區第三方財富主管Hilary Lopez強調,投資者越來越有興趣將資本引導到解決社會和環境問題的公司,而這些基金提供了這樣的機會,同時實現固定收益組合的多樣化。

9. EU Council Adopts Laws Aimed at Cutting Emissions from Transport, Vehicles, Energy Consumption

The European Council has adopted a series of laws to achieve the EU's climate goals. These include measures to reduce energy consumption by 2030, deploy more recharging and refueling stations for alternative fuels, and reduce emissions in the maritime transport sector. The initiatives are part of the EU's "Fit for 55" roadmap, aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The laws include energy efficiency targets, requirements for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, and mandates for hydrogen refueling stations. The regulations also aim to increase the use of renewable and low carbon fuels in maritime transport, with gradual reductions in greenhouse gas intensity and a requirement for zero-emission technologies at ports.
歐洲理事會已經通過一系列法律來實現歐盟的氣候目標。這些法律包括減少2030年的能源消耗、在歐洲部署更多的替代燃料充電和加油站、以及減少海上運輸部門的排放。這些措施是歐盟“Fit for 55”路線圖的一部分,旨在將溫室氣體排放量在2030年與1990年相比減少55%。這些法律包括能源效率目標、電動汽車充電基礎設施要求,以及氫氣加油站的法定要求。該法規還旨在增加在海上運輸中使用可再生能源和低碳燃料,逐步減少溫室氣體排放強度,並要求在港口使用零排放技術。