Top Stories

September 28, 2020

Nature Conservation 

World leaders pledge to halt Earth’s destruction ahead of UN summit 

France, Germany and the UK are among more than 60 countries that have signed the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, promising to put wildlife and climate at heart of post-Covid recovery plans. The pledge from world leaders is to clamp down on pollution, embrace sustainable economic systems and eliminate the dumping of plastic waste in oceans by the middle of the century as part of “meaningful action” to halt the destruction of nature on Earth. The commitments include a renewed effort to reduce deforestation, halt unsustainable fishing practices, eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies and begin the transition to sustainable food production systems and a circular economy over the next decade. The leaders describe the pledge as a “turning point” by which future generations will judge their willingness to act on environmental destruction. (The Guardian) 

Sustainable Investment 

Bank of America issues $2 billion bond to promote racial equality 

Bank of America Corp. is issuing a $2-billion bond, where a portion of the proceeds will be used for the financial empowerment of Black and Hispanic-Latino communities. This is the bank’s eighth environment, social and governance factors (ESG) themed corporate bond and the first of its kind aimed at advancing racial equality. An amount equal to the net proceeds from the offering will be set aside for social and environmental purposes, and projects include financing, leasing and investments that support the transition to a low-carbon economy. In June, the investment bank had pledged $1 billion to help communities across the United States address economic and racial inequality. (Reuters 


Climate technology investments growing five times faster than average market rates 

Venture capital investment into climate-related technology is growing five times faster than the average rate of all other industry investments, according to new analysis from PwC. The results found that corporate and investor demands for low-carbon innovation led to $16 billion being invested in 2019. While climate tech still only accounts for 6 percent of the venture capital market, its representation has grown by more than 3750 percent in absolute terms since 2013. According to the analysis, the growth has been driven by corporate requirements to meet net-zero commitments and investors ramping up interest and investments into low-carbon markets. (edie) 


UK regulator says Google not doing enough about scam ads 

The UK financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has accused US tech giant Google of not doing enough to stop fraudsters using its internet search pages to target victims. It stated that fraudsters and promoters of high-risk schemes have been able to place advertisements aimed at UK private investors on Google search pages. FCA’s enforcement boss, Mark Steward, said the steps being taken by Google to remove adverts for fake investments “fall short” — and were “creating a production line that proliferates scams”. Google said it had updated its policies to gain more information about advertisers’ identities, business models and relationships with third parties to ensure users could trust the ads they are seeing. (Financial Times*) 

Sustainable Investment 

Robeco to ban fossil fuel investments across all of its funds 

Dutch asset manager Robeco has announced it will exclude investments in thermal coal, oil sands and Arctic drilling from all of its mutual funds, with the process expected to be completed by the end of 2020. From now on, companies that derive 25 percent or more of their revenues from thermal coal or oil sands, or 10 per cent or more from Arctic drilling, will be excluded from all investment portfolios. Robeco has stated that while it believes actively engaging with its investee companies is a strategy that can benefit clients and the wider society, it does not believe that engagement with these particular companies will lead to significant change and therefore prefers to focus its efforts elsewhere. (Business Green) 


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