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ESG Insider: EU upends sustainability reporting; shareholder proposals at risk

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ESG Insider: EU upends sustainability reporting; shareholder proposals at risk

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 and iTunes.

"There has never been an environmental performance benchmark before and now there is one in law, and 6,000 listed European companies and every financial fund product in Europe will have to use it as a reference benchmark."

That is what the chief responsible investment officer at the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment told S&P Global Market Intelligence about the new European Union classification system on climate-friendly investments. In this first ESG Insider newsletter of 2020, we examine how that system is poised to radically change the way companies and investment firms report on their environmental performance.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Wall Street's top regulator has proposed higher hurdles for shareholder resolutions. Our Chart of the Week shows how that change might impact ESG-related shareholder proposals.

Chart of the Week

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Top Stories

SEC proposed rule would have blocked 614 ESG resolutions since 2010, data show

More than 600 ESG-related resolutions since 2010 likely would never have advanced under a newly proposed rule by the SEC, according to data from the Sustainable Investments Institute that was shared with S&P Global Market Intelligence.

EU taxonomy to provide investment benchmarks, transform environmental reporting

European Union governments recently agreed on a new classification system for climate-friendly investments, a move that will provide the basis for measuring a financial product's sustainability and thresholds for companies that are adapting to a changing climate.

For capital break on 'green' investments, climate risk assessment is crucial

As European regulators weigh easing prudential rules for financial institutions that shift toward more sustainable investments, the banking industry is working to determine how to measure climate risks on a bank's balance sheet.

Environmental

NAIC to prioritize climate risk in 2020 as catastrophes grow

Banks moving too slowly on climate change, BoE's Carney says

Protection gap persists across insurance world, despite some progress

Social

Lawmakers demand answers from JPMorgan after discrimination allegations

Court finds Orange, former CEO guilty over employee suicides

Facebook looking into data exposure of 267 million users

Governance

Wave of institutional divestment from coal mining, generation develops in 2019

US coal mining fatalities drop 60% this decade from 1990s, 43% from 2000s

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Another new policy highlights growing trend of US insurers abandoning coal

ESG Indices

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Upcoming Events

Emerging markets, central banks & the future of green monetary policy
Responsible Investor
Feb. 5
Webinar

Investing for Impact
The Economist
Feb. 13
New York

ESG & Sustainability Forum
Infrastructure Investor
March 16
Berlin

Water & Long-Term Value
Skytop Strategies
April 2
San Francisco

ESG and Sustainable Investments Forum
Institutional Investor
April 22
Amsterdam

Disruptive Sustainability Technologies
Skytop Strategies
April 23
Palo Alto, Calif.

US SIF 2020 Annual Conference
The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
June 8-10
Arlington, Va.

Questions or suggestions? Contact S&P Global Market Intelligence's ESG News team at ESGNews@spglobal.com.