Edition for 02 June 2020

Top Stories

15 Best ESG Funds for Responsible Investors (Kiplinger's Personal Finance)

  • Investors' hunger for ESG funds and stocks is growing at a rapid clip.
  • According to Deloitte, the percentage of investors who applied ESG principles to at least a quarter of their portfolios grew from 48% in 2017 to 75% in 2019.
  • Here are 15 of the best ESG funds for investors looking to put their money where their values are. Most of these picks, which include mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) alike, use a combination of SRI exclusion and ESG inclusion.

Top business leaders call on Boris Johnson to set out green recovery plan (Guardian)

  • Britain’s most powerful business leaders have called on Boris Johnson to set out economic recovery plans that align with the UK’s climate goals to help rebuild a resilient UK economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
  • The letter is the latest in a growing chorus of voices calling for the government to focus on sustainable investments.
  • However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that the economic fallout of the coronavirus could pose a threat to climate action unless governments use green investments to help support economic growth through the global slowdown. 

Shareholders to Big Oil: Do more on climate change (Grist)

  • In recent years, shareholder votes on company board elections and resolutions at these meetings have become a key tool for activist shareholders to pressure fossil fuel companies to do more to address climate change.
  • In April, roughly half of shareholders in Australia’s two biggest oil and gas companies, Woodside Petroleum and Santos, voted in favor of climate proposals that called for the companies to set targets to reduce their “scope 3” emissions — which include the carbon footprint of all the oil and gas they sell.
  • Scope 3 emissions have become a major sticking point in oil and gas companies’ climate plans.

Trump Is Bailing Out Big Meat—and Further Screwing the Planet (The New Republic)

  • In 2018, watchdog groups GRAIN and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) estimated that the world’s top five industrial meat and dairy companies—JBS, Tyson Foods, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America, and Fonterra—were together releasing more emissions than fossil fuel companies like Exxon.
  • Factory farms have contributed to a 14.4 percent spike in climate-destabilizing U.S. methane emissions since 1990, EPA calculations suggest, while at the same time leaking tens of millions of tons of raw sewage into the country’s waterways.

Domini Launches the Domini Sustainable Solutions Fund (GreenMoney Journal)

  • Domini Impact Investments LLC, a U.S. pioneer in the impact investing field, recently launched the Domini Sustainable Solutions Fund, a new mutual fund dedicated to investing in innovative, solution-oriented companies contributing solutions to global sustainability challenges.
  • The Domini Sustainable Solutions Fund is designed to help impact investors make a difference and meet their own personal financial goals through a global equity portfolio of companies that Domini believes can play an important role in addressing some of the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges.
  • By seeking investments that support the transition to a more sustainable economy, Domini also believes it can identify strong long-term investments.

Newmont Publishes 2019 Sustainability Report (Business Wire)

  • Newmont Corporation (NYSE: NEM, TSX: NGT) (Newmont or The Company) today announced the publication of its 2019 Sustainability Report, Beyond the Mine, a transparent and comprehensive disclosure of the Company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
  • “Our sustainability report provides investors and other stakeholders a transparent and detailed look at look at our safety, environmental and social performance,” said Tom Palmer, President and Chief Executive Officer.
  • “In 2019, we completed two transformative transactions whilst enhancing our ESG performance to align with our position as the world’s leading gold company.” The report also includes an update on Newmont’s efforts – such as protective measures at operating sites and the establishment of a $20 million fund to support communities – to help manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Glencore Chairman Defends Firm from Greenhouse Gas Criticism (Smarter Analyst)

  • The chairman of Glencore (GLNCY) has defended his firm’s current strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions following intense criticism from climate activists.
  • Tony Hayward, who served as the CEO of British Petroleum (BP) during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, rebuffed criticism that miners such as Glencore are not doing enough to reduce emissions.
  • Though coal power still supplies nearly a quarter of the world’s primary energy and two-fifths of global electricity, pressure from the green lobby has mounted on miners to gradually end their coal operations.

US court refuses to shield Volkswagen in diesel scandal lawsuits (Channel News Asia)

  • A U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday that Volkswagen AG cannot escape potential financial penalties from two counties in Florida and Utah that may amount to a "staggering" additional liability arising from the German automaker's diesel emissions scandal.
  • Volkswagen has admitted to using illegal software to cheat U.S. pollution tests in 2015, allowing up to 40 times legally allowable emissions.
  • "Those other courts rightly recognized the chaos that would ensue if thousands of localities can regulate manufacturers' updates of their software systems, which are an inherent feature of modern vehicles and, in this case, reduced emissions," Volkswagen said.

Is sustainability undergoing a pandemic pause? (GreenBiz)

  • If you were to believe the mainstream business media, there would be no question whatsoever that the twin crises of a pandemic and a recession have pretty much put the kibosh on sustainable business activity.
  • Among the Journal’s proof points: General Motors put the brakes on a car-sharing program, Starbucks washed its hands of filling reusable coffee mugs and "companies have delayed sustainability reports." 
  • The reality is that corporate sustainability is alive and well. Unlike previous economic downturns, sustainability isn’t being jettisoned in the spirit of corporate cost-savings.  
  • So, why is sustainability still going strong within the private sector amid this terrifying time?

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