Investors could be key to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2, writes Planet Tracker’s Robin Millington in Responsible Investor

In its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the United Nations outlines 17 objectives to safeguard the longevity of the planet and fair access to its resources. The second, “SDG2”, is “Zero Hunger” – a mission which does not just entail ensuring that there is sufficient food, but also that global food and agriculture systems provide food that meets nutritional requirements, while allocating it equitably.

Writing in Responsible Investor, Robin Millington, CEO, Planet Tracker, explains that achieving SDG2 is more critical than ever, as the world’s population stays firmly on track to surpass 10 billion by 2050. At the same time, over-farming to feed this booming population is degrading the long-term quality of natural resources. Critically, she warns, we will not be able to feed a population of this size under a business-as-usual scenario.

Millington points out that investors, however, are very well-positioned to drive SDG2 commitments through direct engagement, proxy voting and shareholder resolutions to influence management teams to operate more sustainably. They can also send a message by choosing to divest from companies with unsustainable agricultural methods, redirecting their capital to SDG2 initiatives and demanding enhanced transparency and independent, third-party verification on a company’s sustainability objectives.

The full article is available here.

Investment Week shortlists S&P Global Ratings in two categories in its 2020 Sustainable & ESG Investment Awards

In its annual Sustainable & ESG Investment Awards, Investment Week has named S&P Global Ratings as a finalist in two of its hotly-contested 2020 categories.

The first is for “Best Thought Leadership Paper” for its report entitled “Space, The Next Frontier: Spatial Finance And Environmental Sustainability” authored by S&P Global Ratings’ Beth Burks, in which she explores the use of satellite imagery and machine learning to identify shifting climate risk patterns and the potential effects on creditworthiness of US public water utilities.

The credit ratings agency’s Sustainable Finance team is also in the running for Best Sustainable & ESG Research & Ratings Provider, following a year of extensive work developing its suite of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) offerings and timely, essential research throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The winners will be announced on 26th November 2020.

Planet Tracker research on the EU’s new plastics levy featured in FT Moral Money

On 24th July, the EU approved a new plastic waste levy as part of the bloc’s seven-year recovery package. Buried deep inside the plan, the “Bottle Deposit Law” set the levy at €800/tonne and will come into force in January 2021 – despite the fact that recycling infrastructure in the EU is insufficient to provide an adequate alternative.

Markets were muted in their response, most likely unaware of this key detail, but non-profit financial think tank Planet Tracker’s latest report examines how the move will push the industry to expand recycling and embrace circular economy principles.

Speaking to the FT, Gabriel Thoumi, Director of Financial Markets, Planet Tracker commented: “It’s a very clear signal that markets need to pursue circular economy objectives and outcomes, and they’re going to get financially supported to do so.”

The full article was published in FT Moral Money and is available here.


Islamic financing instruments can put the S in ESG, says S&P Global Ratings – covered by specialist press

As COVID-19, and the measures implemented to slow its spread, continues to impact economies around the globe, the link between Islamic finance and the social aspect of environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-focused investing are coming to the fore, according to S&P Global Ratings.

While the similarities between Islamic finance and the environmental and governance aspects of ESG have long been recognised, the social aspect of Islamic finance has until now been somewhat secondary. Now, with COVID-19 hampering core Islamic finance markets – and unemployment rates rising – the Islamic finance industry has been exploring the possibility mitigating the damage with social instruments.

S&P Global Ratings believes Islamic finance social instruments can support core Islamic countries, banks, and corporates in navigating today’s uncertain economic landscape.

Following outreach by Moorgate, the report was covered by The Peninsula Qatar, ZAWYA, Khaleej Times, Al Bawaba, Trade Arabia, Gulf News, Gulf Times, MENA FN, Al Khaleej Today, and Pakistan Observer

The EU’s post-COVID recovery plan could create its own green safe asset, says latest S&P Global Ratings report covered by the specialist press

With leaders due to meet in Brussels on Friday 17th July to discuss the latest proposal for the EU’s post-COVID recovery plan and new long-term budget, the region has the potential to become the main liquidity provider for a green safe asset, according to a report published by S&P Global Ratings.

If the EU carries out a proposal to finance 30% (€225 billion) of its planned €750 billion recovery fund through green bond issuance, it could become also become largest supranational liquidity provider for a green safe asset. A larger pool of green assets would also assist policymakers and central banks achieve their aim of greening the financial system and likely reinforce the international role of the euro as a green currency.

“EU green bond issuance on such a large scale would help respond to a fast-growing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investor base and increase the size of the global green bond market by around 89% compared with total issuance in 2019,” said Marion Amiot, Senior Economist, S&P Global Ratings, and author of the report.

Following outreach by Moorgate-Finn Partners, the report was covered by: International Financing Review, Institutional Asset Manager, Chief Investment Officer, ESG Clarity, Expert Investor Europe, DevDiscourse, Scottish Financial Review, Opalesque and Global Capital, The Washington Post and Environment Analyst  here and here.

Planet Tracker’s Matthew McLuckie speaks to Seafood Source on investors’ exposure to deforestation-linked farmed shrimp industry

In an interview with Seafood Source, Matthew McLuckie, Director of Research at financial think tank Planet Tracker, delved into the financial risks that investors in the US$45 billion farmed shrimp industry are facing.

Shrimp farming is the cause of 30% of mangrove deforestation and coastal land use change in Southeast Asia – which is in turn threatening the ecological sustainability of the  industry, and consequently, its financial profitability.

“Investors around the world could be at risk as rules come into force preventing the importation of products linked to past and future deforestation,” says McLuckie.

According to McLuckie, neither shrimp companies nor the top 20 institutional investors report mangrove deforestation or emissions from farmed shrimp. As a result of this lack of disclosure, profit margins cannot be accurately assessed, meaning that investors cannot be confident of their risk exposure.

“These top 20 institutional investors exposed to farmed shrimp equities must insist upon greater transparency and reporting on farmed shrimp revenue from these companies because they are going to face ongoing environmental shock risks,” McLuckie continues. “These are large-scale Japanese conglomerates that are involved. This really is a global issue.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Planet Tracker and LSE launch report calculating the dependence of sovereign bonds on natural capital

A report published by non-profit financial think tank Planet Tracker in collaboration with The London School of Economic (LSE)’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment examines the dependence of sovereign bonds on reliable flows of natural capital – that is, the world’s stock of natural resources.

The report identifies Argentina and Brazil as the two G20 countries facing the greatest number of risk factors associated with their economic dependence on their natural capital stocks such as soybean and cattle. An estimated 28% of Argentina’s sovereign bonds and 34% of Brazil’s sovereign bonds will be exposed to anticipated changes in climate and anti-deforestation policy over the next decade. For Argentina, this rises to 44% after 2030.

In the report, Planet Tracker and the LSE propose a first framework for factoring natural capital risks into sovereign debt analysis based on traditional credit rating factors: institutional, economic, trade, natural hazards, and fiscal.

Following Moorgate-Finn’s outreach, the report was covered by Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Environmental Finance, Natural Capital Coalition, Green Finance Platform, Bonds & Loans, Public Debt Management Network, and Financial Post.

Specialist press covers RiskFirst’s hire of seasoned industry professional Tarik Ben-Saud

RiskFirst has announced the appointment of Tarik Ben-Saud, who has been hired in an advisory capacity to support and accelerate the development of RiskFirst’s front office investment management capabilities, including the roll-out of its fixed income and LDI attribution application, PFaroeAttribution. Ben-Saud has 30 years’ investment management experience, including senior roles at Blackrock and Insight Investment.

The news was covered by Private Equity Wire, Global Banking & Finance Review, Financial IT, Fintech Finance, Fintech Zoom and Yahoo Finance.

RiskFirst discusses the role of technology in pension risk management in Benefits and Pensions Monitor magazine

Today, assets and liabilities are changing in more complex ways and being impacted by more factors, making effective risk management far more challenging – and far more crucial. In Benefits and Pensions Monitor, Matthew Seymour, CEO of RiskFirst, explains how, with the right technology tools, advisors and asset managers can be equipped to help plans identify and understand their needs; make optimized decisions on how risk can be best managed; and capture opportunities to maximize their investment strategies.

To read the full article, please click here and turn to page 27

Technology for now and the future: BNY Mellon discusses the importance of technology investment in bobsguide

Following an interview during Sibos, Paul Camp, CEO of Treasury Services at BNY Mellon features in a bobsguide article examining technology investment. Paul explains that there is a need to invest both in current systems that are used daily by clients, while also looking to the future.

“What we are very cognisant of – and the technology companies don’t always get it – is that our clients need both,” said Camp on the side lines of the conference. “They need the stuff which works today and has worked for years, because that model is not going to switch instantaneously, and they need a path to the future.”

To read the full article, please click here