March 15, 2019


Focus on Green Finance - The European Union Action Plan - Mandates Being Put In Place for Fiduciaries

The European Union adopted a Sustainable Finance Action Plan in May 2018; the package of measures included a proposal for a regulation to establish a framework to facilitate sustainable investment.  The aim is to create a unified classification system or taxonomy on what could be considered to be “an environmentally-sustainable economic opportunity”.

Also in the plan:  a proposal for a regulation on disclosures related to sustainable investment and sustainable risks to require financial sector players to integrate ESG in their risk processes and decision-making as part of their fiduciary duties.

The action plan also calls for a regulation to amend the benchmark regulation by creating a new category of benchmarks for low-carbon and positive-carbon impacts (this would provide investors with better information on the carbon footprint of their investments).

The latest move in the action plan is the mandating of disclosure by money managers, insurance companies, pension funds and investment advisors in how these financial sector players are integrating ESG factor in their portfolios and disclosing the details to their beneficiaries, savers, investors, and advisors.

The financial sector fiduciary organizations will have to disclose how certain investments of theirs might cause damage to the planet, such as polluting water (think: mining companies, oil & gas companies, chemical companies, and others) and how an investment might damage biodiversity.

Implementation of the European Commission plan requires amending the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) and the Insurance Distribution Directive, and other directives or by adopting new “delegating acts” under the directives.

Also to be expected:  establishing an EU label for “green” financial products, those that comply with green or low-carbon criteria.

Two years ago the EU adopted ESG disclosure policies for public companies (the EU Directive for Non-Financial Disclosures and an Accounting Directive that was adopted by all 28 states); this corporate reporting directive could be strengthened as part of the action plan to assure that companies are providing the right information to investors.

All of this is to further ensure that the financial sector players invest more responsibly, said Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU vice president responsible for financial stability, financial services and the Capital Markets Union (CMU) in talking with Editor Paulina Pielichata of Pensions & Investments.  The CMU is a plan of the European Commission to mobilize capital in Europe and channel it to companies and infrastructure projects to expand and create jobs, part of the vision of creating a single market for capital in the EU.

She had written back in June 2018 after the announcement of the action plan that disclosure of sustainability and low-carbon attributes of investment strategies will soon be standardized as the European Commission worked on creating better transparency for those strategies for moving toward a lower-carbon economy.

There’s more information for you at the EU Sustainable Finance web site:

This Week's Top Story has the current Pension & Investments report by Paulina Pielichata on the latest moves by the EU on the action plan:

This Week's Top Story

EU agrees to sustainable investment disclosure framework   
(Friday - March 08, 2019) Source: Pension& Investments - The European Parliament and European Union countries agreed Thursday on sustainable investment disclosure rules for institutional investors. Under the agreed rules, money managers, insurance companies, pension funds and...

Looking at Green Finance in the United States of America
Citi announced issuance of its first green bond in January, as part of the Citi Group commitment to environmental and climate finance.  The bond will fund renewable energy, sustainable transportation, water quality and conservation, energy efficiency, and green building projects (all part of the organization’s US$100 billion Environmental Finance Goals (announced in 2015).  In January, Citi issue EU1 billion, 3-year fixed rate notes. Citi is a co-founder of the Green Bonds Principles (2014). Citi VP Michael Eckhart is the key player (he is head of environmental finance and was a principal player in creation of the Principles). 

On April 11th in New York City the Fixed Income Analyst Society (FIASI) will hold an event at the University Club in midtown -- “ESG Integration in Fixed income:  How Credit Analysis of Risks and Opportunities is Evolving”.  The event will explore the drivers and current status of ESG integration in fixed income; focus on developments at the largest credit rating agencies regarding ESG integration in creditworthiness, and how investment management firms are considering ESG risks & opportunities in fixed-income investing.

Global sustainable investment assets reached US$23 billion in January 2016, FIASI points out, and one of the fastest-growing segments is ESG integration.  There’s a broad spectrum of methods involved, and for fixed-income instruments, there are higher levels of complexity in evaluating “green” issues than for equity, FIASI explains. Speakers from Moody’s, Fitch, S&P, TD Asset Management, Loomis-Sayles, JP Morgan Asset Management, APG Asset Management, and others will be speakers, moderators and panelists.  For information:

Information about FIASI is at:

Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!

Can sustainable companies get a lower cost of capital?   
(Tuesday - March 05, 2019) Source: GreenBiz - Green bonds have been making headlines in the sustainable finance world the past few years because of their rapid growth. Emerging this year as a rising star in sustainable finance are green and sustainability loans. What has... 

Forest group readies ambitious new standards for sustainable industry   
(Tuesday - March 05, 2019) Source: Coast Mountain News - A new bar will soon be set on what counts as sustainable forestry, holding potential implications for the future of the woodland caribou and of the forestry industry itself. 

How to Grow Sustainability in the Supply Chain   
(Wednesday - March 06, 2019) Source: SupplyChainBrain - From construction to automotive services, businesses are focusing on ways to become more eco-conscious. Supply chains are no exception. Within the logistics and shipping communities there’s been a significant push toward more...

What is the difference between the terms "the stability of the banking system" and "the sustainability of the banking system"'   
 (Thursday - March 07, 2019) Source: ResearchGate - Sustainable include stability but also the banking system should contribute to growth and development in a sustainable manner as defined by the European Centre For Corporate Engagement. 

...and Corporate Sustainability Actions 

Nike Outlines Global Strategy for Creating a More Sustainable Business   
(Tuesday - March 05, 2019)  Source: Nike News - Energy and Climate Change Strategy In 2009 Nike instigated the formation of new coalition of consumer companies called Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) which is advocating for strong U.S. climate and... 

Why Fashion Can No Longer Ignore Sustainability   
(Friday - March 08, 2019) Source: Hypebeast - No one can afford to ignore sustainability, especially fashion. While the oft-repeated quote about the industry being the world’s second biggest polluter has been debunked, that doesn’t mean fashion has suddenly become a... 

Sappi joins the Sustainable Apparel Coalition   
(Wednesday - March 06, 2019)  Source: Companies - South African pulp and paper company Sappi, whose products are used by the apparel industry, has announced its affiliation to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), adding the partnership will allow it to drive environmental... 

General Mills to advance regenerative agriculture practices to grow sustainable supply chain   
(Wednesday - March 06, 2019) Source: Supply Chain Digital - General Mills has announced that it will advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland by 2030, as part of a major supply chain environmental responsibility initiative. 

Nestle Waters names new sustainability leader   
(Wednesday - March 06, 2019) Source: Food Business News - David Tulauskas has been named vice-president and chief sustainability officer for Nestle Waters North America (NWNA), producer of bottled water brands Poland Spring, Nestle Pure Life, Perrier and...

Plastics Industry Association reveals winners of first Sustainability Innovation Awards   
(Friday - March 08, 2019) Source: Plastics Today - Dell, Tarkett and Circular Polymers/Broadview Group were revealed today as winners of the first-ever Re-focus Sustainability Innovation Awards. Organized by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS; Washington, DC), the awards..

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ESG Topics & Issues Headlines

22 of the top 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India   
(Tuesday - March 05, 2019) Source: CNN 

They chose us because we were rural and poor': when environmental racism and climate change collide   
(Friday - March 08, 2019) Source: The Guardian 

Health of oceans 'declining fast'   
(Friday - March 8, 2019) Source: BBC 

US households see biggest decline in net worth since the financial crisis
(Friday - March 08, 2019) Source: CNBC

Economic slowdown and China’s green future   
(Friday - March 08, 2019)  Source: 

Headlines From the Corporate Sector

Google pay equity analysis leads to raises for thousands of men   
(Tuesday - March 05, 2019) Source: Ars Technica

General Mills to advance regenerative agriculture practices to grow sustainable supply chain   
(Wednesday - March 06, 2019) Source: Supply Chain Digital 

Birth Defects Caused By World's Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say">Roundup: Birth Defects Caused By World's Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say   
(Monday - March 04, 2019)  Source: HuffPost

Norway Gives $1 Trillion Wealth Fund Approval to Dump Some Oil Stocks
(Friday - March 08, 2019) Source: Bloomberg 


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