Edition for 29 May 2020

Top Stories

ESG Funds Shine During Pandemic (Wealth Management)

  • Funds focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues were resilient during the conronavirus market selloff—even as the overall fund universe saw massive outflows.
  • In the first quarter of 2020, the global sustainable fund universe saw inflows of $45.6 billion into both mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), while the overall fund universe posted $384.7 billion in outflows, according to Morningstar.
  • "During the worst of the market turbulence, the SRI ESG (socially responsible investing/environmental, social and governance) equity funds had only one week of outflows," said Cameron Brandt, director of research at Informa’s EPFR, a Boston research house (Informa is also the parent company of Wealthmanagement.com.)

Singapore Agency to Help Myanmar Find Partners for Key Infrastructure Projects (The Irrawaddy)

  • Under an agreement with Myanmar’s Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MOPFI), Singapore’s Infrastructure Asia (IA) will help identify suitable investors, including by inviting international-standard tenders, for infrastructure projects listed in Myanmar’s Project Bank, an online database of priority projects aligned with the country’s sustainable development plan.
  • Myanmar’s recently launched COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) comprises new measures and response plans to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.
  • The Myanmar government said the Project Bank would help identify, screen, appraise and prioritize investment projects based on social, environmental, economic and risk indicators.

South Korea’s Green New Deal (The Diplomat)

  • Lee’s efforts to develop a “low-carbon, green growth” economy resulted in 80 percent of South Korea’s stimulus money being dedicated to green projects.
  • They yielded the establishment of the Global Green Growth Institute and helped Seoul convince the UN to locate the Green Climate Fund in Songdo.
  • There are other steps the Moon administration could consider to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, either through the Green New Deal or separately. Seoul launched the Korea Emissions Trading Scheme (KETS) in 2015, which is now the world’s third largest trading scheme. KETS is currently in its second phase of emissions permit trading with the third phase set to come into operation in 2021. 

CapitaLand snags $500m sustainability-linked loan from UOB (Straits Times)

  • It is the largest sustainability-linked bilateral loan in Singapore's real estate sector, said the property group.
  • Mr Andrew Lim, CapitaLand's group chief financial officer, noted that despite the current economic climate, the group has raised $1.5 billion in 2020 through sustainable finance.
  • To date, CapitaLand has partnered with seven financial institutions to secure a total of 12 sustainable financing instruments comprising sustainability-linked loans, green loans and green bond.

The Energy 202: ExxonMobil declines to set long-term climate goal, bucking oil industry trend (Washington Post)

  • Darren Woods, the company’s chairman and chief executive, told investors Wednesday that it is up to consumers and the governments they elect to set target dates cutting greenhouse gas emissions — not a single corporation such as his.
  • Exxon has set a series of short-term goals, promising to cut methane emissions by 15 percent and reduce the burning of excess gas at wells by 20 percent between 2016 and 2020.
  • The company also supports federal regulation of methane emissions at a time when the Trump administration is rolling back rules put in place under President Barack Obama to stop the leaking of that potent greenhouse gas from oil operations.

Bombardier Releases its 2019 Activity Report, Highlighting Sustainability Milestones and Objectives (GlobeNewswire)

  • Bombardier (TSX: BBD.B) today released its 2019 Activity Report, reaffirming its commitment to sustainability and highlighting the Company’s progress over the past year towards achieving its environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.
  • “As a company entrusted to safely move millions of people around the globe every day, Bombardier is proud to be a leader in sustainable business practices,” said Éric Martel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier Inc. “Moreover, the current global health and economic crisis has demonstrated that sustainability is more important today than ever before. With this Activity Report, we hope to send a clear message reaffirming our commitment to pursuing ambitious ESG goals as we look to move beyond the current crisis.”
  • Recognized among Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, Bombardier is committed to developing efficient, cost-effective and innovative products, efficiently managing resources in its operations and across its supply chain, and transparently and annually reporting on its progress.

Column: In landmark vote, Chevron shareholders demand report on its climate lobbying (LA Times)

  • At the big oil company’s annual meeting, held Wednesday in a virtual format, a majority of shares were voted in favor of a proposal that the company issue an annual report disclosing its lobbying expenditures on climate change and explaining how they align with the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
  • Although the resolution is nonbinding, activist shareholders view it as a significant wake-up call for a company that they see as having paid lip service to the threat of climate change while continuing to fund organizations fighting environmentally friendly initiatives.
  • Big institutional investors have been joining small investors in pressing for more disclosure by companies about their actions related to climate change.

Adidas and Allbirds join forces to design the world’s most sustainable shoe (Fast Company)

  • This partnership between Allbirds and Adidas might seem surprising, given that they are are technically competitors (though Adidas is much bigger: the athletic company sold 11 million shoes in 2019, and Allbirds sold a fraction of that).
  • By collaborating, the two brands believe they can bring their respective expertise to the table to create one of the most sustainable shoes in the world.
  • But these efforts don’t take into account the entire carbon footprint of the shoe, including the emissions required to transport materials around the world.
  • The goal was to give customers a way of understanding the climate impact of a product the way they read a nutritional label. 

Are We Past the Peak of Big Oil’s Power? (The New Yorker)

  • As the analyst Dave Roberts points out, in an excellent roundup of climate policies, a tax “would be helpful—and if it turns out to be possible, go for it—but it is neither necessary nor central to comprehensive climate policy.” That’s because you also need serious subsidies for building out infrastructure for wind and solar power, and strong measures to keep carbon in the ground.
  • Right now, our economy needs fiscal support to get going again, but handing money to companies in failing industries that drive climate change is the worst possible way to provide that support.
  • Media Matters for America has launched a new report showing that, in March and April, certain insurance companies were among the major advertisers on Fox News—that is, it pointed out the irony of companies that theoretically care about risk backing the network’s cavalier attitudes toward both climate change and COVID-19.

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