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This is our weekly newsletter we deliver to educate our readers on ESG. We aim to curate content on responsible investment to educate and surface relevant news articles, academic papers, best practice reporting guides, and latest industry developments. We have a strong ESG community and if you have feedback to share reply to this email to let us know what’s on your mind!

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Issue #101: A weekly update on responsible investment.
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\\ Weekly Insights \\

While the demand for ESG expertise is growing exponentially, this week I saw a few articles discussing how universities have begun to develop ESG-based curriculums. What has been happening?

The launch of ‘Business Schools for Climate Leadership’: Launched at COP26, a new initiative has been started aimed at educating future business leaders on climate change. So far, 8 European business schools have joined the initiative as founding partners including:

  • Cambridge Judge Business School
  • HEC Paris
  • IE Business School
  • IESE Business School
  • The International Institute for Management Development (IMD)
  • London Business School
  • Saïd Business School (University of Oxford)

What climate-related topics are they hoping to educate their students on? You can read their toolkit directly where each of the 8 founding university members produced a chapter on each of the following topics:

  1. Climate change and Inequality
  2. Climate change and Nature
  3. Climate change and Geopolitics
  4. Climate change and Technology
  5. Climate change and Business Transformation
  6. Climate change and Decarbonizing Business
  7. Climate change and Risk Management
  8. Climate change, standards and business value

Oh, and the kicker, this material is all free to be used by anyone so educate yourselves away!

Moving over to the US, the NY Times also wrote this week on how “Business Schools Respond to a Flood of Interest in E.S.G.” What is trending?

  • The University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business now offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate courses related to social impact.
  • The Duke University Fuqua School of Business recently added a course to its core curriculum called “Business and Common Purpose.”
  • Harvard Business School had 600 students take second-year elective courses related to social enterprise last year, compared with 251 in 2012.

The article goes on to discuss the explosion of jobs in the ESG space that are overwhelmingly lacking talent to hire. PwC alone is said to be creating 100,000 ESG linked jobs over the next 5 years.

\\ Nossa News \\

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\\ Top Stories \\

Allbirds dropped ‘sustainable’ claim from IPO after SEC objection
Allbirds, the sneaker brand that listed on Nasdaq last week, dropped its claims to be the first “sustainable” IPO after the Securities and Exchange Commission objected. Allbirds announced in August that it would pursue a “sustainable public equity offering” that would guarantee the company met various environmental, sustainability and governance standards. However, it repeatedly weakened the proposals in subsequent updates to its IPO prospectus. In September it removed references to a sustainable “offering” and said it would instead follow a “sustainability principles and objectives” framework. In October it then removed half the references to the new framework, including suggestions that it could increase the cost of the IPO and that other companies could follow its “sustainable” approach.
Financial Times.

Oatly learns that it’s not easy being ‘green’
“Oat-LIES.” New York–based investment firm Spruce Point Capital Management publicly critiqued Oatly stating: allegations of revenue inflation and bad accounting, attacks on Oatly’s leadership, and questions about whether Oatly could compete with heavyweight rivals like Nestlé and Chobani in the fast-growing oat-milk market. The most headline-grabbing attack struck at the core of Oatly’s brand. The firm alleged that Oatly “doesn’t practice what it preaches” when it comes to ESG — environmental, social, and governance measures — and especially to sustainability. The world’s hottest vegan milk, it insinuated, just isn’t that green.

Blackstone Names SASB Founder Jean Rogers to Helm Push on ESG
Rogers will run the firm’s corporate environmental, social and governance group, focusing on integration, strategy and reporting across its businesses and portfolio companies. “There’s tremendous opportunity in private equity to build companies correctly from the start and incorporate ESG in the DNA,” Rogers, who was chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based non-profit SASB for six years, said in an interview. “You can build the companies for the 21st century and the type of economy we need, taking into account stakeholder priorities.” Like its peers, Blackstone is ramping up hiring: It added 12 employees this year across its corporate staff, portfolio operations and asset management groups to focus on sustainability.

Why Investor Engagement with ‘Dirty’ Companies Is Better Than Divestment
Investors who espouse environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles will achieve little by selling their shares in ESG-unfriendly companies. Instead, investors could have more success if they buy those so-called “dirty” stocks and then engage with those companies’ managements to adopt ESG-friendly policies. When ESG investors sell stock in ESG-unfriendly companies, they hope to drive down those stock prices and thus make it harder and more expensive for those companies to raise capital. But “the impact [of divestment] on the cost of capital is too small to meaningfully affect real investment decisions.” What can be done instead? To have impact, instead of divesting, socially conscious investors who want to have an impact should invest and exercise their rights of control to change corporate policy.

ESG Pulse Check: Where Are We Now?
Where is the market now and where is it heading? Across all ETFs, we have seen record flows this year — and 50% of those flows have gone into ESG funds. So ESG is no longer niche and no longer new. It’s becoming mainstream, which means that many of the principles used in ESG investing will be used elsewhere. ESG will stop being a “nice to have” and some ESG exclusions will likely become the norm.

Phase 1 of ESG: Negative screening and norms-based screening (controversial weapons, tobacco).

Phase 2 of ESG: Incorporating ESG to enhance risk-return profile of an index.

Phase 3 of ESG? Focus on Socially Responsible Investments (SRI) and Impact Investments.

Institutional Investor.

After COP26: Nature positive set to become key component of net zero
An increased number of individual countries’ climate plans now include nature-based solutions. 92 percent of updated government’s climate pledges mention nature, up from 82 percent in a previous assessment. More than 130 world leaders committed to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, with US$19.2bn of finance across public and private finance backing this new global forest finance pledge. The countries committing to the pledge cover over 90 percent of global forests. Forests play a critical role both in absorbing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving biodiversity. On top of this, finance ministers, central banks, supervisors and development banks also made various commitments to scale up their nature-related work. TNFD.

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\\ Report Highlight \\

2021 Annual ESG Manager Survey: The red flag is raised on climate risk

Russell Investments

Which sustainability-related organizations do firms engage with?

How do investment managers form their ESG insights?

Which ESG data vendor is best for what topic?

  • Most used: MSCI ESG Research closely followed by Sustainalytics.
  • Proxy voting agent: ISS ESG
  • Strong suite of corporate governance data: ISS ESG
  • Climate-change related measures: Trucost and CDP
  • Real assets, such as real estate and infrastructure: GRESB
  • Other popular vendors: Bloomberg, Refinitiv, RepRisk and TruValue — all providing broad-based ESG considerations like MSCI and Sustainalytics.

Which ESG factors drive investment decision-making the most?

How does your firm manage shareholder activities?

Read the report.

\\ Leading Across ESG \\

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Thank you for reading! Tell us what you think!

Hi, I want to say thank you for subscribing to Nossa Data’s weekly email on ESG. There is a growing expectation that the same way a company’s financial information should be accessible, so should a company’s ESG or non-financial information.
This is why we spend time every week to shine a light on ESG.

Our community is a wonderful group of leaders so I would love to know more about you and what encouraged you to subscribe.

Thank you for joining us on our ESG journey,

Julianne Flesher
Co-founder of Nossa Data

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