ESG Essentials: in the news last week

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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire among CDP’s climate impact disclosure laggards

CDP released their CorporateA-List this week, ranking 30,000 companies based on the level of their environmental transparency. A record breaking 13,000 companies disclosed this year, with 270 making it onto the prestigious  ‘A-List’. There was also an improvement in the quality of disclosures, with 509 companies moving up in their ranking from a “C” score or below in the previous year, to “B” in 2021. 

However, nearly 17,000 companies were graded an ‘F’ – CDP’s Dexter Galvin said that such behaviour will land businesses “on the wrong side of public opinion, regulation and investor sentiment.”

With mandatory disclosure regulation on the horizon in some jurisdictions, and particularly following COP26, we can see “the necessary role that companies will play in driving the real economy changes necessary to tackle the climate change emergency”. At current, only 14 companies achieved a triple A score for their performance across all three environmental themes in 2021. 

Read the full story here.

PRI kicks off Human Rights equivalent to CA100+

The Principles for Responsible Investment has kickstarted its collaborative human rights stewardship initiative, which aims to maximise investor contributions towards business respect for human rights and and investor efforts to address social challenges. 

Representatives from investors including Storebrand Asset Management, Robeco, Hermes EOS, and Pensioenfonds Detailhandel will sit on the initiativeʼs advisory committee, providing strategic direction, advice and guidance on the engagement, and act as informal ambassadors. 

The initiative will begin by identifying two (or more) of the most important sectors to engage with, based on  their size and commonality and/or the severity of human rights abuses. In its second year it will begin to engage policymakers. 

PRI see this as a long-term initiative – as with CA100+, we’re not likely to see overnight step change but rather a slower burning strategic shift over the coming years. 

Tropical forests can regrow within 20 years on some abandoned farmland

An international group of researchers have found that, if left untouched by humans for about 20 years, tropical rainforests have the potential to almost full regrow. This is a hugely important breakthrough as pressure heightens for deforestation rates to drop. In fact, natural regeneration might actually be preferable to tree plantations, with biodiversity and nutrient regeneration occurring faster than when new trees are planted. Additionally, secondary forests naturally soak up “carbon like crazy”, which has huge implications on global strategies to reduce climate change going forward.

Read the full story here

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