DWS Raid, CFA Handbook, G7, Vanguard, Spreadsheets, and Aquaculture
Here are 5 ESG insights you might have missed this week:
1. Deutsche Bank, DWS Raided by German Police in 'Greenwashing' Probe-
The raid follows a whistleblower's allegation that DWS—majority-owned by Deutsche Bank—made misleading environmental claims in its 2020 annual report.
The Frankfurt public prosecutors' office said in a statement that the raid—which reportedly involved around 50 law enforcement officials—was "triggered by reports in the international and national media that the asset manager DWS, when marketing so-called 'green financial products,' had sold these financial products as 'greener' or 'more sustainable' than they actually were."
"After examination, sufficient factual evidence has emerged that, contrary to the statements made in the sales prospectuses of DWS funds, [environmental, social, and governance factors] were not taken into account at all in a large number of investments," the statement continued.
2. CFA's ESG Disclosure Standards Handbook-
Complying with the Global ESG Disclosure Standards for Investment Products has just gotten easier.
CFA Institute has published its Global ESG Disclosure Standards for Investment Products Handbook and an optional ESG Disclosure Statement Template.
The handbook will provide relevant, flexible, and complementary insights for all types of investors on how to implement the ESG Disclosure Standards. Published last year, These are the first global voluntary standards for disclosing how an investment product considers ESG issues in its objectives, investment strategy and stewardship activities.
3. Vanguard Commits $290 Billion of Assets to Be Net Zero by 2050-
$290 billion, or 17% of Vanguard’s $1.7 trillion in actively managed assets under management, are invested in a manner that aligns with achieving net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
A portion of these assets is in actively managed ESG products with net-zero commitments as part of the product design. The identified assets also include actively managed funds without explicit ESG mandates that nonetheless align to net-zero objectives because of the existing philosophy and process used by the investment managers to maximise total returns for investors.
Separately, more than 70% of our equity index fund assets are invested in companies with emission-reduction goals. Vanguard manages more than $5 trillion in index equity assets, and according to data from MSCI that tracks company actions, over $1 trillion of those assets are invested in companies that have committed to net-zero targets.
4. More than Half of Public Companies Still Housing ESG Data in Spreadsheets: EY Survey-
ESG data collection and reporting processes are still a “work in progress,” according to a new survey released by professional services firm EY.
For the study, “How finance professionals are helping to advance ESG reporting,” 72 chief accounting officers and controllers from some of the largest US companies were surveyed, and interviews were also conducted with financial executives from eight public companies representing the surveyed group.
ESG data collection and management appears to remain a highly manual process, according to the study, with only 25% of respondents reporting that their companies’ ESG information currently resides in ESG-specific software or in software solutions used for financial reporting, and over half storing the information in spreadsheets. Asked to rank the level of automation of current ESG reporting processes, respondents gave an overall score of 3.5 out of 10.
5. G7 Nations Agree on Low-Carbon Energy Grids by 2035 and Fossil Fuel Funding Phase-Outs-
Ministers have pledged to deliver “predominantly” low-carbon power grids, effectively decarbonising the electricity mix, by 2035.
The communique states that the new targets are “consistent with our 2030 NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions), our power sector transition commitments and our respective net-zero commitments, concrete and timely steps towards the goal of an eventual phase-out of domestic unabated coal power generation”.
While the announcement is a welcome step forward, Reuters has reported that a draft version of the communique committed to deliver these fossil-fuel-free electricity networks by 2030. This was dropped from the final agreement, with a water-downed target of a “predominantly” carbon-neutral system instead introduced.
One more thing: A 12-min video from DW on whether we can farm the ocean without destroying it.
Find the video here: https://youtu.be/VrsY9AIjWRE
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