Top Stories

December 21, 2021


FCA unveils climate disclosure rules for asset managers, listed firms

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the conduct regulator for financial services firms in the UK, has announced the publication of a set of final rules requiring investment managers, pension funds, life insurers and publicly listed companies to begin providing Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)-aligned climate disclosures, with implementation as soon as January 1, 2022 for large companies. The new policy applies a ‘comply-or-explain’ approach, where companies will have to state whether their disclosures are consistent with TCFD recommendations, and to explain if they are not consistent. It also provides guidance for companies to make their disclosures, for periods beginning in 2022. Under the policy related to asset managers and owners, firms will be required to make annual disclosures at both an entity-level and on a product and portfolio level. (ESG Today)


JD Wetherspoon area managers join board of directors for first time

JD Wetherspoon has promoted four of its area managers to its eight-strong board of directors, after a series of run-ins with employees, politicians and investors. The chain has appointed four new employee directors – two with full plc director status, and two as associate employee directors. The intention behind the decision is that pub and area managers, who participate in weekly decision-making meetings, distil suggestions from the frontline and will help to preserve the culture of the company. The announcement comes after the chain had been involved in a series of rows ranging from its communication with staff during the pandemic, its corporate governance and its founder’s sometimes outspoken views on topics such as Brexit. (The Guardian)


Glencore’s proposed coalmine site home to threatened species

Mining giant Glencore has defended its plans to dig a $1.5 billion coalmine in Queensland after telling the federal government more than a dozen threatened species could be on the site. According to documents sent by the company to the federal government this month, there are four plants and nine animals that are considered threatened but that could be present at the mine site. There are also three threatened ecological communities that would be affected, with some of those areas needing to be cleared. Environmentalists said the mine would also put a question mark over the company’s climate goals to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The company’s documents will now be considered by the environment minister under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. (The Guardian)


Alibaba launches “Scope 3+” initiative to slash 1.5 Gt of emissions

China-based technology giant Alibaba Group announced a series of climate goals, including targets to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations by 2030, and the launch of an initiative aimed at eliminating 1.5 gigatons of carbon emissions across and beyond its ecosystem by 2035. The company’s 2030 carbon neutrality target includes scope 1 and 2 emissions. For scope 3 emissions, Alibaba is targeting a 50% reduction by 2030, as well as scope 3 carbon neutrality for Alibaba Cloud, its cloud computing subsidiary. Alibaba’s 1.5 ‘Gigatons for 1.5°C’ initiative goes beyond scopes 1-3 sources, targeting “Scope 3+” emissions, which will involve leveraging its digital platforms to influence and advocate for low carbon products among the stakeholders in its ecosystem. The company has also committed to join the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). (ESG Today)


UK government sets out climate tests for future oil and gas projects

The UK government is proposing six climate tests that future oil and gas extraction projects would have to meet to secure approval in future offshore licensing rounds, as it insisted such projects could still go ahead despite the UK's net zero commitments. A six-week consultation launched this week to seek views on the design of a new net zero compatibility checkpoint for the oil and gas industry, which sets out six potential climate conditions which future oil and gas extraction projects would have to meet in order to secure government approval. Many green groups argue that no new oil and gas projects can be compatible with the UK's climate targets, but the government is backing the oil and gas sector's shift, claiming "this has to be a transition, not extinction". (Business Green)


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B4SI Annual Review 2021