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Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy


The European Green Deal has announced a Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy, which aims to provide the policy tools to ensure that the financial systems genuinely support the transition of businesses towards sustainability in a context of post-COVID recovery. The renewed strategy will contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal Investment Plan, in particular to create an enabling framework for private investors and the public sector to facilitate sustainable investments. It will build on previous initiatives and reports, such as the Commission’s 2018 Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth and the reports of the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG).

The importance of a Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy is highlighted through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which underscores some of the subtle links and risks associated with human activity, climate change, and biodiversity loss, as well as the subsequently critical need to strengthen the sustainability and resilience of our societies and economies.

In order to inform the development of the renewed strategy, the Commission launched a consultation, available until 15 July. All citizens, public authorities and private organisations within the EU and beyond are invited to give their views and opinions.
 


ESAS consult on environmental, social and governance disclosure rules


The three European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA and ESMA - ESAs) have last month issued a Consultation Paper seeking input on proposed environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure standards for financial market participants, advisers and products.

These standards have been developed under the EU Regulation on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector (SFDR), aiming to:

  • strengthen protection for end-investors;
  • improve the disclosures to investors from a broad range of financial market participants and financial advisers; and
  • improve the disclosures to investors regarding financial products.
See more here.
"Economic aid should be used to shape a sustainability-oriented economy"

The Sustainable Finance Advisory Board of the German government, of which FNG Executive Director Angela McClellan is a member, has published a statement against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The advisory board makes it clear that economic aid should be used to shape a sustainability-oriented economy. “By acting in solidarity, the Federal Government now has the opportunity to give the “European Idea” urgently needed substance and a forward-looking perspective, not least given the upcoming German EU Council Presidency.

Economic stimulus packages should therefore be based on the approaches of the European Commission including among others the Net-Zero 2050 goal, the multi-year EU financial framework, including the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Finance Action Plan, as well as the Taxonomy Regulation.”

Please find further information here: https://sustainable-finance-beirat.de/en/news/

Tax avoidance and fiscal responsibility: French SIF publishes a study on the CAC 40 and gives 7 recommendations

The tax policy is a key dimension of CSR for responsible investors. Thus, it still represents a dead angle in many companies’ social responsibility.

While they claim ever more their commitment in contributing to SDGs, French SIF sends companies a strong signal to engage them in reflecting on their fiscal responsibility practices. This engagement campaign took the form of a survey allowing the inventory of companies’ tax policies and their maturity analysis compared to responsible investors’ expectations.

French SIF has interrogated CAC 40 companies by writing directly to their chair, the letter explaining the campaign and also asking six questions on their tax strategy. The campaign was conducted by French SIF’s Dialogue & Engagement Commission which members together represent more than 4,400bn€ of AuM.

The study provides seven recommendations and the Commission is pursuing this campaign with a written question on country-by-country reporting sent to all CAC 40 companies during 2020 AGM season. This question is part of the campaign of French SIF’s 2020 AGMs written questions mentioned in the last newsletter.

Download the study (in French)

How can sustainable finance boost the economic recovery after the pandemic? ItaSIF identified 7 lines of work

Considering the dramatic economic and financial impacts that COVID-19 pandemic is having worldwide and, in particular, on Europe and Italy, the Italian Sustainable Investment Forum (ItaSIF) highlighted 7 sectors where the responsible investors community can play a crucial role for enabling the economic recovery.

Here are the pillars:

1. Encourage investments in renewable energies, sustainable mobility and energy efficiency to lower air pollution

2. Focus on public-private partnerships and impact investing for public healthcare and social infrastructures

3. Enhance the value of the services provided to people, especially in the social and healthcare spheres, using social finance tools in collaboration with the Third Sector organisations

4. Foster a green digital innovation and fill the digital divide

5. Trigger collaboration and trust between sustainable finance and the real economy

6. Enhance financial education towards retail investors through the expertise of financial advisors; transparency should also be provided by institutional investors

7. Boost international alignment and collaboration among financial players

In the following weeks each sector will be further analysed, with the aim to identify lines of work and useful tools to improve research on effective responses to the crisis from the financial community to the real economy. The full version of the document is available here.

Sustainable finance webinars and podcasts available now

Given the current situation marked by the COVID-19, Spainsif has been adapting all its events and activities to an online format. This has brought some new digital initiatives such as webinars and podcasts series.

On March 2020, the TEG published the “Final Report on EU Taxonomy”, a key document that contains recommendations relating to the design of the EU Taxonomy established in the EU Plan on Sustainable Finance. Besides, some weeks ago, the EU published the “EU Green Bond Standard” (EU GBS) as well.

Spainsif has launched, for the first time, a Webinar Series, with these two documents as the initial key topics. The objective is to create an online space where they are presented in a clear and straightforward way, so our associates can understand the main ideas and the importance that these updates will have on their activities.

Additionally, Spainsif has released a series of four Podcasts on Benchmarks in Sustainability, with the participation of expert representatives from Allianz Global Investors, ISS ESG, MSCI and Morningstar. Among the topics that are developed in the podcasts, one can found the difference between traditional indexes and sustainable indexes, the evolution of climate benchmarks, the response of sustainable indexes to the crisis of the COVID-19 or the current state of climate indexes of the European Union.

 


 

Industry interview phase kicks off for major EC study into sustainable investment data, ratings and research

Investors, listed companies and research providers are invited to share their experiences and ideas on the future of sustainable investment data, ratings and investment research as their contribution to a major study for the European Commission.  (Details and survey here)

The study will provide the EC with a "state of play analysis of the sustainability-related products and services market and recommendations on how to stimulate demand and improve the quality of supply"

Support for COVID-19 response: By participating in the online survey, respondents can raise EUR20K for the WHO Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund (The deal is this: if we get responses online instead of via telephone interviews, SRI-CONNECT and Hindsight Consultancy's budget for interviews will go to the WHO's fund.  Simple as that.)

Why participate: The findings will directly inform EC policy in a number of areas (Green Deal, Climate Benchmarks, Sustainable Finance Action Plan etc).  All participants in the research process will receive a 'sustainable investment market intelligence' report with extensive information on the market size, shape and ideas on how to maximise opportunities for themselves and their clients in this rapidly evolving value chain.

Global dimension: The European Commission's interest and mandate is clearly limited to companies and investors operating within the EU27 countries.  However, thanks to grant funding received from the Moore Foundation's Conservation and Financial Markets Initiative, we are able to expand the research into a broader piece of analysis that will of relevance to companies, investors and research providers globally.

Research consortium

The research project team contains Hindsight Consultancy, SRI-CONNECT, Institutional Investor, Minter Ellison and is led by Sustainability - an ERM Group company.

For questions, please contact

Mike Tyrrell, Editor, SRI-CONNECT, www.sri-connect.com, mike.tyrrell@sri-connect.com, 020 7119 6640



Good Money World

UKSIF, Good Money Week and HSBC GAM create new materials to help retail financial advisers and their clients to open a conversation about sustainable finance and investment.

A short colourful animation and an interactive map help people visualise the benefits and impacts of their investments. 

Click points on the map to discover how the finance system works and all the issues sustainable investment can shape. 

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