- Social impact startup leverages customer spending data to help them “shape the world”
- UK fund management body proposes standard definitions for responsible investment
- TCFD uptake “slower than it should be” says ex-SEC chair Schapiro
- Investors press fast food giants to ‘urgently’ improve supply chain sustainability
- Unprecedented demand from corporates for clean power, research indicates
After having launched in New Zealand, social impact startup CoGo recently announced that the mobile app will be available in London where consumers will be able to find businesses that are doing good for causes that matter to them. According to CoGo, the platform is the first tech innovation that has the aim of leveraging spending data and every transaction made by a customer. As customers add their payment card to the account, they share their spending preferences with businesses. Consumers then send an anonymous signal to businesses every time they shop which shows them that people who are consciously searching for companies that share the same ethical practices that they do are nearby. Ben Gleisner, CEO and Co-Founder of CoGo, short for ‘connecting good’, explained that the platform questions the customer about what they care and because their spending is linked to their information, the app helps find other businesses aligned to the consumer’s values. (Forbes)
The trade body representing UK asset managers has launched an industry-wide consultation on sustainability and responsible investment in a bid to bring more clarity to the growing area of activity. The Investment Association (IA) is seeking its members’ views on proposals for industry-agreed definitions and a product labelling system for UK retail investors. According to the trade body, asset managers had been practising responsible investment “for many years” with the intention of delivering better long-term returns for clients, but expectations had evolved. “More recently, a number of key drivers have emerged, drawing increasing attention to sustainable and responsible investment solutions that deliver on particular sustainability objectives alongside the generation of long-term returns,” it said. The IA’s proposed “definitional framework” took as its starting point definitions given by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, the trade body explained. It also identified stewardship – also referred to as active ownership – and ESG integration as types of firm-level approaches to sustainable investment. (IPE)
The uptake of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the Mark Carney/Michael Bloomberg-backed framework, is slower than it should be, according to former Securities and Exchange Committee Chair Mary Schapiro, who has a key role in the initiative. She said that while the TCFD framework had been “endorsed” by over 550 companies and investors, “the uptake in terms of actually reporting financial results using the governance, risk management, business strategy and metrics pillars of the TCFD framework has been slower than it should be”. She also suggested regulators were “losing patience” with companies not using the various voluntary ESG disclosure frameworks and that there may come a time when they decide to “step in” to decree disclosure. She went on to say companies should make use of market standards like SASB and TCFD amid what she termed a possible “tsunami of money into sustainable products”. (Responsible Investor)*
Responsible Investment/ Supply Chain
A coalition of investment firms with more than $6.5 trillion in assets under management have called on six of the largest fast food companies to take more ambitious action to tackle the climate and water risks within their supply chains, as a “matter of urgency”. Convened by non-profit Ceres and Coller Capital’s FAIRR initiative, the group of more than 80 investors is urging fast-food companies to publish detailed plans on how they will mitigate environmental sustainability risks like deforestation and water stress throughout their supply chains. In an open letter to the food-to-go chains, which also include KFC’s parent firm Yum! Brands and Burger King owner Restaurant Brands International, the investors state that “animal agriculture is the world’s highest-emitting sector without a low-carbon plan,” urging recipients to bolster the sustainability requirements of their respective meat and dairy supply policies by March. Signatories of the open letter hail from around the world and include BMO Global Asset Management, Aviva Investors and Aegon Asset Management. (Edie)
Companies and government agencies last year signed contracts to buy 13.4 gigawatts of clean power, compared to the prior record of 6.1 gigawatts that was set in 2017, according to a report by BloombergNEF. However, the contracts still account for just a fraction of the total electricity use. Even companies that have pledged to ultimately get 100 percent of their power from renewables still rely on other resources for about two-thirds of demand. The tech giants of the world stand out as leaders in the space: Facebook Inc. alone accounted for more than 2.6 gigawatts of clean-energy deals last year, taking it over Alphabet Inc.’s Google, the long-time leader as the world’s biggest corporate buyer. Corporations’ sustainability targets and concerns about climate change are driving a green boom that has been propelled by renewable-energy subsidies and government mandates. While those subsidies are waning or expiring in many markets, wind and solar power is now often the cheapest electrical source, making these record volumes possible. (Bloomberg)
edie Sustainability Leaders Forum
5-6 February 2019, Business Design Centre, London
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