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ESG Insight Brief

Most Companies Unprepared for SR Disclosure Assurance

A large majority of companies are unprepared to fully comply with the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and other imminent sustainability reporting regulations, according to a new survey.

KPMG found that 75 per cent of 750 companies surveyed in its “Road to Readiness: KPMG ESG Assurance Maturity Index 2023” didn’t have the skills, policies or systems to meet the regulations’ disclosures assurance requirements.

The companies that are most ready are the larger firms and those that are already engaged on ESG issues. More than half said it was difficult to balance such demands against profitability expectations of shareholders, the report also found.

SAP Fioneer Launches Fist ESG Tool for FIs

SAP’s FinTech arm SAP Fioneer has unveiled its first ESG assessment tool for investment portfolios. The Fioneer ESG KPI Engine is available for on-prem or cloud-based platforms and enables banks and insurers to manage portfolios according to particular KPIs.

HKEX Plans to Widen Climate Disclosure Rules

Hong Kong’s financial regulator has said it will increase requirements for companies to disclose climate-related data as it seeks to better enable investors to direct capital to ESG-linked assets and companies. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) chair Laura Cha Shih May-lung said the plans would be introduced in pursuit of helping China reach its 2060 net-zero goals.

EU Considers Rewriting Sustainability Categorisations for Financial Products

The European Commission is reviewing parts of its flagship regulation covering financial institutions’ ESG performance reporting. In a consultation questionnaire on the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) market participants are queried on the way sustainability products are categorised. This follows complains that the designation of products as Article 6, 8 or 9 – indicating increasing degrees of sustainability – is confusing. The consultation also indicates the EC is considering requiring ESG disclosures for all financial products, even those that make no sustainability claims.

CDP Urges G20 to Back Nature Disclosures

Nature-related impact disclosures should be made mandatory for financial institutions and companies, CDP has urged on the eve of a meeting of the world’s 20 richest countries and trading blocs. The disclosure organisation warned the G20 that without such data, greenwashing could remain a challenge and that biodiversity would suffer.

ESG Book Chosen to Support Data Project in Asia

ESG Book will provide data to an Asian-based project to address gaps in the sustainability data record. ESG Book, a open data initiative led by vendor Arabesque and backed by a dozen major banks, will be among providers of information to the Sustainable Finance Institute Asia’s (SFIA) Single Access Point for ESG Data (SAFE) initiative. ASIA is a collaboration between multiple stakeholders in the Asia Pacific region.

MSCI and Google to Harness Generative AI in ESG Data Offering

MSCI and Google Cloud are to jointly create generative AI solutions in an expansion of a collaborative effort to build a data marketplace for ESG investors. MSCI intends to offer the technology driven by Google Cloud’s Vertex AI, along with its climate tools BigQuery Geospatial and Earth Engine.

Executives Planning to Substantially Increase ESG Data Spend

ESG data demand is on the rise among portfolio managers, with the vast majority planning to substantially increase spending on the resource, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The financial data giant’s ESG Data Acquisition and Management Survey of more than 100 managers and executives found that 92 per cent would boost spending on ESG data by more than 10 per cent and almost a fifth would increase it by 50 per cent.

The survey found, however, that around half of respondents said that contending with new ESG content and managing multiple data feeds was a challenge.

Europe Adopts Reporting Standards for CSRD Disclosures

The European Commission has given assent to its own set of guidelines for the estimated 50,000 companies that will be required to report their ESG performance data under the Corporate Sustainable Reporting Directive (CSRD). The European Sustainability Reporting Directive considers frameworks established by the International Sustainability Standards Board and GRI and will be applicable when companies first report under CSRD in 2025.

Auditing Body Releases ESG Data Assurance Proposal

The global auditing standards setter, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), has released its proposals for ISSA 5000, which will cover the validation of ESG data. As the IAASB explained to ESG Insight last week, the standard – if adopted – is hoped to harmonise the way ESG data is verified by auditors.