Top Stories

January 11, 2021


Investors file climate resolution at HSBC

Investors, with a combined $2.4 trillion in assets under management, have filed a resolution at HSBC, calling on the bank to publish a strategy that outlines efforts to reduce exposure to fossil fuel assets. A total of fifteen institutional investors, joined by 117 individual shareholders, issued the climate change resolution. Co-ordinated by responsible investment NGO ShareAction, the resolution calls on HSBC to set a strategy that would reduce exposure to fossil fuels in its funding portfolio as part of an alignment with the Paris Agreement. If the new resolution receives more than 75% of votes at the bank’s upcoming AGM in April, HSBC would be required to publish a strategy and intermittent targets that would reduce exposure to fossil fuels. (Edie) 


State Street to insist companies disclose diversity data 

Asset manager State Street’s $3.1 trillion investment arm will start voting against directors of big companies that fail to disclose the racial and ethnic make-up of their boards, a move that will increase the mounting pressure on corporations to diversify their leadership. For this year, the Boston-based firm is calling on companies to report diversity information. However, beginning in 2022, it will also vote against the chair of the nominating and governance committees of companies that do not have at least one minority board member. From 2022, it will also demand that S&P 500 companies report the racial and ethnic composition of their entire workforce. The threat applies to all companies in the S&P 500 and FTSE 100, many of which count State Street Global Advisors as a top shareholder.   (Financial Times*) 


Parler social network drops offline after Amazon pulls support 

Parler has dropped offline after online tech giant Amazon pulled support for its so-called "free speech" social network. The platform had been reliant on Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing service to provide its alternative to Twitter, which is popular among supporters of Donald Trump with posts said to have encouraged violence in last week’s attack on Capitol Hill. Google and Apple had already removed Parler from their app stores towards the end of last week, saying it had failed to comply with their content-moderation requirements. AWS's move is the latest in a series of actions affecting social media following the rioting on Capitol Hill last week. Facebook and Twitter have also indefinitely banned President Trump's accounts on their platforms, citing concerns that he might incite further violence. (BBC) 


Chile threatens legal action to get Albemarle to disclose lithium reserves 

Chilean regulators have threatened Albemarle Corp with legal action, demanding the world´s top lithium miner present a plan for turning over data on its reserves of the ultralight battery metal by the end of the week. In 2016, Chile gave Albemarle approval to hike production from the lithium-rich Atacama salt flat on condition the miner prove its reserves could sustain the increased output. According to reports, Albemarle had failed to provide adequate reserves data more than a year after the regulator requested it. Albemarle sought to keep parts of that data confidential, but the regulator has until now rejected its arguments. Market watchers are keenly interested in the flat’s lithium reserves, which will be crucial to meet a predicted boom in global demand for the electric vehicle battery metal. (Reuters) 


Garnier to launch digital sustainability labelling this month 

L'Oreal-owned cosmetics brand Garnier is set to launch a digital tool enabling UK customers to track the environmental and social impact of its haircare products. The company will use data relating to emissions, water, biodiversity and other sustainability topics to give products an overall grade between A and E. These ‘planetary impact’ grades will then be relayed to consumers on a dedicated website. Once the UK launch is complete, the project will extend to the US and UAE. It hopes to engage customers, of whom 81% (of 18,000 adults) in a recent Garnier survey revealed they want to lead more sustainable lifestyles in 2021. The tool will feed into L’Oreal’s new sustainability strategy, which aims to halve emissions across all scopes and use offsetting to reach carbon neutrality by 2025. (Edie) 


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Wednesday, 27th January and 3rd February

Climate resilience: Aligning disclosure with TCFD recommendations