Water Levels, ESG Demand, Stranded Assets, SBTi, and a Climate Change School
Here are 5 ESG insights you might have missed this week:
1. The Largest Water Reservoirs in California Are Rapidly Receding-
The ongoing drought in the U.S. West is challenging access to water in several states.
Water storage in the state is supposed to be at its highest this time of year, a sobering forecast of how low water levels may be this coming summer. Lake Oroville is at about 55% of its usual capacity, the LA Times reported. Shasta Lake reservoir is a bit worse—it’s currently at 40% of regular capacity, which is the lowest the lake has been this time of the year since record-keeping began in 1977. The levels are low enough in this reservoir that hydropower generated may be affected for residents in the area.
California’s snowpack, which usually melts and feeds into waterways across the state in the spring, was alarmingly low this year. In fact, this past winter was recorded as one of the driest winters in 128 years. In late March, California Department of Water Resources officials set out to conduct the annual snowpack measurement near Lake Tahoe and found only 2.5 inches of snow where there should have been about 5 feet. by transition risks affecting the risks they insure or the investments they make.
2. Record High in ESG ETF Demand Comes with an Asterisk-
ESG ETFs in Canada touch historic highs despite a constantly fluctuating market, with equity strategies leading the way.
In April, $642 million was invested in Canadian-listed ESG ETFs, increasing the year-to-date total to $1.6 billion. Despite a constantly unpredictable market rattled by geopolitical events and ongoing pandemic disruptions around the world, demand for ESG ETFs has hit new highs.
However, there’s one catch: institutional orders have dominated the inflows to Canadian ESG ETFs. Two ESG equities ETFs from National Bank Investments, for example, garnered $600 million in apparent institutional subscriptions in April. April's ESG ETF inflows would have been only $42 million without them (still positive, but more indicative of grassroots buying interest). Similar patterns of majority institutional demand that occurred against a background of reduced retail activity were seen in previous months of high ESG inflows.
3. High and Dry: How Water Issues Are Stranding Assets-
Water insecurity is already impacting companies through the stranding of assets. CDP's report with Planet Tracker presents new research which highlights the deep implications for the global financial sector.
Global companies in key industries are already losing billions as a result of the global water crisis. The research shows how US$15.5 billion has been stranded, or is at risk. The report focuses on four case studies taken from key sectors with high levels of water usage: oil & gas, electric utilities, coal, and metals & mining.
Financial institutions are exposed to these risks through shareholding and lending activities. The new analysis shows the top 20 financial firms have provided US$2.5 trillion in bond, loan, and equity financing to some of the world's most water-impactful companies over the past decade. But many institutions are still unaware of the problem, with one-third reporting not to be assessing the exposure of their activities to water issues.
4. SBTi Progress Report 2021-
The SBTi's published its third progress report, 'Scaling Urgent Corporate Climate Action Worldwide'.
In 2021, the SBTi entered a period of exponential growth and increasing corporate ambition - doubling the number of new companies setting and committing to set targets, and tripling the rate at which new targets were validated.
At the end of 2021, more than 2,200 companies covering over a third of the global economy’s market capitalization, were working with the SBTi - a rate of more than 110 new companies per month.
5. Stanford University Announces New Climate Change School With $1.1 Billion Donation-
Stanford University announced it is launching a new school later this year focused on climate change and funded by John Doerr, a renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
Doerr and his wife donated $1.1 billion to fund the initiative -- the largest gift ever given to a university for establishing a new school, according to the New York Times. The university's first new school in 70 years will be known as the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, and is set to officially launch on September 1. Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne wrote in a message to the university that the school will focus on three broad, but critical areas: earth, climate and society.
"As is often said, we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. We must create a future in which humans and nature thrive together," the new dean added.
One more thing: A new platform from Global Plastic Watch to crackdown globally on plastic waste sites.
Find the platform here: https://globalplasticwatch.org/
Do share your comments or the content you think our community should not miss!