Top Stories

December 22, 2021


SASB launches initiative to set reporting standards for diversity & inclusion

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) announced the launch of two standard-setting projects, one to address Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) across multiple SASB standards, and the other to address Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) and Air Quality in the Marine Transportation Standard. The board is initiating a project to adapt its standards to reflect the impact of DEI on enterprise value. Research will be conducted to refine the industry list, examine channels and industries across markets, and to develop a view on the scope of disclosure topics and general issue category mapping.  The second project aims to evaluate improvements to accounting metrics in the GHG and Air Quality topics in the Marine Transportation Standard.  Further research and materials will be developed to facilitate consultations with market participants, focusing on investors. (ESG Today)


U.S. raises ambition on vehicle emissions reduction requirements

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalised new vehicle emissions requirements through 2026 that reverse former President Donald Trump's rollback of car pollution cuts and will speed a U.S. shift to more electric vehicles. If expressed in miles per gallon (mpg) requirements, the EPA rules would result in a fleetwide real-world average fuel efficiency of about 40 mpg in 2026, tougher than the 38 mpg proposed by the EPA in August. Biden also wants 50% of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be EV or plug-in hybrid models. The new rules take effect in the 2023 model year and require a 28.3% reduction in vehicle emissions through to 2026. The EPA estimates the final rule will result in 17% of new U.S. vehicles being EVs or plug-in hybrids by 2026. (Reuters)


Morgan Stanley to boost career outcomes for underrepresented groups

Morgan Stanley has launched the Institute for Inclusion’s Equity in Education and Career Consortium, a new initiative aimed at supporting high school and college students from underrepresented groups to achieve stronger career and financial outcomes, with a focus on ethnically diverse students. The bank will spend $20 million over the next five years and aims to impact over 30,000 students worldwide. The initiative intends to expose students to career paths and opportunities that may not be visible in their communities, focusing on broadening skills and networks through training, mentorship and coaching, and creating a support system for students throughout their educational and career journeys. It also includes partnerships with non-profit organisations including A Better Chance, Hispanic Federation, SEO and others. (Yahoo News, ESG Today)


Canada moves towards mandatory climate disclosures

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has directed the government’s cabinet ministers, including the Minister of Finance and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to move towards the country’s goal to transition to net zero by 2050. The PM directed the ministers “to move toward mandatory climate-related financial disclosures based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures,” and also to require federally regulated institutions, including financial institutions and pension funds, to issue climate-related disclosures and net zero plans. Other mandates include making investments towards achieving a net zero electricity system by 2035, ensuring 50% of light duty vehicle sales are zero-emission by 2030, accelerating the government’s commitment to eliminate fossil subsidies from 2025 to 2023, and introducing investment tax credits for capital invested in Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage projects. (ESG Today)


Contact with nature in cities reduces loneliness, study shows

Contact with nature in cities significantly reduces feelings of loneliness, according to a team of scientists. The research found feelings of overcrowding increased loneliness by an average of 39%, but when people were able to see trees or the sky, or hear birds, feelings of loneliness fell by 28%. Feelings of social inclusion also cut loneliness by 21%, and when these feelings coincided with contact with nature the beneficial effect was boosted by a further 18%. The research, published in the Scientific Reports journal, collected data from urban citizens worldwide using an app prompting people at random times to answer questions. Time spent in nature is known to boost wellbeing, with woodland walks estimated to save the UK at least £185 million a year in mental health costs, for example. (The Guardian)


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B4SI Annual Review 2021