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In This List

The role of ESG in COVID-era credit quality; PG&E's ongoing existential risks

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The role of ESG in COVID-era credit quality; PG&E's ongoing existential risks

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 latest ESG Insider podcast on SoundCloud, Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

The coronavirus has hit just about every industry, and many companies have seen their credit rating downgraded as a result. In the latest episode of our ESG Insider podcast, we hear how environmental, social and governance issues are driving credit rating decisions during COVID-19.

"Managing ESG risk is critical ... because it is a central piece of understanding credit quality," S&P Global Ratings' sustainable finance team lead Michael Ferguson explains in the episode.

In this week's newsletter we also look at the environmental, social and governance challenges still facing Pacific Gas and Electric Co. Over the weekend, PG&E's restructuring plan got approval from a California bankruptcy court, but experts caution that the beleaguered utility faces an uphill battle.

"They kind of wiped their slate clean ... removed their past liabilities, but wildfire risks continue," Jeff Cassella, a vice president and senior credit officer at Moody's, said in an interview.

And we explore how BlackRock Inc.'s decision to divest from some thermal coal companies has made it harder for coal firms to access capital and how the pandemic is putting further pressure on the industry — see our Chart of the Week for a look at some of the asset manager’s largest coal holdings.

Chart of the Week

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Top Stories 

Months after milestone BlackRock policy, ESG pressure on coal has intensified

BlackRock’s decision to divest from some thermal coal companies is making it harder for coal companies to tap into capital and other financial services, a trend that has intensified as the coronavirus further squeezes the industry.

Podcast: Why S&P Global Ratings sees ESG as critical to COVID-era credit quality

We hear in the latest ESG Insider podcast how more than 370 credit rating actions taken by S&P Global Ratings since March have been driven by ESG factors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as economies begin to reopen, ratings analysts are watching closely to see what steps companies take to mitigate risks tied to ESG factors like workforce, safety and supply chains.

Arising from the flames, PG&E faces ongoing existential risks

California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for Pacific Gas and Electric and its corporate parent to emerge from bankruptcy as "radically restructured" companies. But their just-approved restructuring plan maintains their fundamental form and challenges.

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The October 2019 Kincade Fire, still under investigation, coincided with PG&E's mass power outages, highlighting some of the utility's continued risks after its anticipated emergence from Chapter 11.
Source: AP Photo


House Democrats pack $70B for clean energy in massive infrastructure package

IEA outlines ways to sustainably scale-up global energy, economy post-COVID-19

Dow signs 4 contracts for wind, solar as it targets carbon neutrality by 2050


Floyd protests may affect NFL ratings, advertising dollars

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A professional football player kneels at a game.
Source: Pixabay

Investors point to risk in content management policies at Facebook

Despite diversification efforts, fewer than 1 in 5 mining leaders are women


Japan green bond issuance in 2020 may fall from record high as COVID-19 rages

Copper sector reveals zero emission mine framework to snag billionaire investors

NextEra's spending on renewable energy resources blows past other utilities

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