Top Stories

July 28, 2022


Singapore issues ESG fund guidelines for retail investors

Singapore’s central bank has issued new disclosure and reporting guidelines for retail ESG funds, including requiring them to provide details on their investment strategy. To reduce the risk of “greenwashing” ESG funds sold to retail investors will provide details such as investment strategy and criteria and metrics used to select investments. Singapore’s central bank said investors will receive annual updates on how well funds achieve their ESG focus. In related news, a study has found that three quarters of the world’s sovereign wealth funds now have a formal policy on ESG investing, yet just 30% have set a target to reduce carbon emissions across their investments. Strategies to meet emissions targets include selling heavy emitting assets, pushing companies to lower emissions, tilting portfolios to favour greener companies, and increasing climate-friendly investment. (ReutersA; ReutersB)


Ethical Consumer rates popular travel companies least sustainable

The first report of its kind to assess ethical practices of travel booking sites has named camping company Canopy & Stars and non-profit Fairbnb, among the most ethical. Conducted by UK-based sustainable consumer research and campaign organisation Ethical Consumer, the report focused on 29 transport and accommodation booking companies. Each company was given a starting score of 14, with points deducted for failing to meet ethical standards in different categories such as setting clear targets to reduce environmental impact and involvement in tax-avoidance schemes. Points were added for positive practices such as being not-for-profit or B-Corp certified. It ranked industry leaders Expedia, Tripadvisor and Airbnb in the bottom ten of reviewed companies. Airbnb was ranked worst for excessive CEO pay. Tui ranked last for its history in facilitating deportation flights. (The Guardian)


Senator Manchin backs Senate deal on key climate legislation 

US Senator Joe Manchin has reached a deal with fellow Democrats on a tax, climate and social spending bill following an abrupt U-turn that paves the way for a major legislative victory for President Joe Biden. It comes after Manchin, a conservative Democrat – and frequent Biden critic – refused to support previous iterations of the president’s flagship economic and social spending plans. Manchin’s support for the deal is vital because the Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. The bill includes $300 billion in deficit reduction, paid for by a new 15% corporate minimum tax and closing the tax loophole on carried interest. The new tax revenue will be accompanied by $369 billion of spending on climate and energy reforms and $64 billion to boost the ‘Affordable Care Act’. (Financial Times)*


New Yorker editor allegedly fired for highlighting racial inequality

A staffer at The New Yorker magazine claims she was fired after raising concerns about gender inequality and diversity and inclusion at the magazine. Erin Overbey – the magazine’s archive editor and Classics newsletter editor, said The New Yorker launched a review into her performance three days after she sent an email issuing her concerns about gender inequality in the workplace. Overbey’s termination comes just one week after she alleged editor-in-chief David Remnick inserted “factual inaccuracies” into her work which she was later reprimanded for. Overbey has previously highlighted that the magazine saw “less than 0.01%” of its print feature and critics pieces edited by a Black editor during Remnick’s 15-year tenure. A Condé Nast spokesperson denied the accusations, stating that “false allegations that malign our journalistic integrity and that attack colleagues are inappropriate and unacceptable”. (The Independent)


Air pollution ‘likely’ to raise dementia risk, finds government body

Air pollution is likely to increase the risk of developing dementia, UK government research has found. The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants has published its findings after reviewing almost 70 studies that analysed how exposure to emissions affect the brain over time. The report concludes that air pollution is likely to increase the risk of accelerated “cognitive decline” and of “developing dementia” in older people. Experts believe this is due to the impact of pollutants entering the circulatory system, affecting blood flow to the brain. It adds that studies are split over which pollutant is most associated with these effects. The committee said it made recommendations for further research to help develop the evidence. (The Guardian)

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