The ESG Insider newsletter compiles news and insights on environmental, social and governance developments driving change in business and investment decisions. Subscribe to our ESG Insider newsletter, and listen to the ESG Insider podcast on SoundCloud, Spotify or Apple podcasts.
Facing a high likelihood of a divided Congress when he assumes office, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is charting a course that will rely on aggressive regulatory actions, executive orders and incremental legislation to curb global warming and address other energy and environmental issues.
"Given the fact that Biden is probably not going to have a compliant Senate to work with, don't look for him getting policy done through a reconciliation bill or even an ambitious climate bill," said Eric Washburn, who served as legislative director for former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and is a former Democratic staff director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
In this week's newsletter, we also look at how COVID-19 is causing some investors to push the meat-production industry to revamp operating methods they view as risky and unsustainable. And our Chart of the Week shows the downward trend in ESG-committed private equity funds worldwide.
Chart of the Week
Executive, agency actions offer more viable pathway for Biden's climate plan
If Congress remains divided, Democrats have weakened prospects of passing more sweeping measures in the next two years to curb climate-warming greenhouse gases, including bills to place a price on carbon dioxide emissions or to establish a national clean energy standard. But President-elect Biden could still make progress on reducing the nation's emissions through federal agency and executive actions, continuing the more recent trend of governing through executive orders rather than congressional action, according to industry observers.
COVID-19 intensifies investor scrutiny of meat producers' operating methods
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, more than 200 slaughterhouses operated by the world's biggest meat producers in the U.S., Europe and Brazil have emerged as leading hotspots for new infections. Thousands of workers have caught the virus, dozens of meatpacking plants have closed and at least one meat producer has been sued. The ensuing stock price plunges have led some investors to push for change in the way the industry operates.
COVID-19 brings ESG discussions to forefront; PE funds still behind
The COVID-19 crisis and social unrest have given conversations about ESG a new urgency, panelists said at the 2020 BSR Virtual Conference. A recent Environmental Resources Management survey of private equity investment professionals found that only 25% of respondents said their firms have a thematic ESG fund or strategy and actively look for ESG-focused investments, while 53% said they are not using any ESG framework to identify tactical opportunities.
Blue hydrogen to play big role in developing a US hydrogen economy, experts say
'Immune to COVID-19': Renewables behind 90% of new capacity in 2020 – IEA
CaixaBank's first green bond issue oversubscribed by 4.5x, raises €1B
Black representation in insurance grows slowly as industry seeks to diversify
Social bond issuance may approach $100B in 2020 – S&P Global Ratings
CBS sets new diversity targets for unscripted programming
Fed warns of systemic climate risks in latest Financial Stability Report
BoE to launch climate-related stress tests on UK banks, insurers in June 2021
Shell to slash crude capacity at Singapore refinery as it pursues ESG goals
The evolution of ESG investing
ESG in Fixed Income Europe 2020
Impact Investing in 2020: Seeking opportunity amid political and economic change
Sustainable Returns: ESG Investing
2020 SASB Symposium
Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
Nov. 30-Dec. 1
ESG Investing - Virtual Event 2.0
Pensions & Investments
Insurance Risk & Capital EMEA 2020
Questions or suggestions? Contact S&P Global Market Intelligence’s ESG News team at ESGNews@spglobal.com.