Digital library on sustainable finance

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TITLE Global Climate Finance Survey: A Look At How Financial Firms Are Approaching Climate Risk Analysis, Measurement, And Disclosure
AUTHOR Institute of International Finance (IIF) and European Banking Federation (EBF)
PUBLISHED Jan 2020
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

The Institute of International Finance (IIF) and European Banking Federation (EBF) conducted a joint survey of their members. The survey of 70 financial firms around the world, with total assets of nearly $40 trillion, finds that the streamlining of measurement and disclosure frameworks, and increased international collaboration, are key to strengthening the climate-related risk analysis and reporting toolkit.

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TITLE Green Bonds: Effectiveness and Implications for Public Policy
AUTHOR Caroline Flammer
PUBLISHED Jan 2020
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This paper uses firm-level data on green bonds issued by public companies, to examine companies’ financial and environmental performance following the issuance of green bonds. The author finds that the stock market responds positively to the announcement of green bond issues, and also documents a significant increase in environmental performance, suggesting that green bonds are indeed effective in improving companies’ environmental footprint. However, these findings are only significant for green bonds that are certified by independent third parties, suggesting that certification is an important governance mechanism in the green bond market.

This paper was published in Environmental and Energy Policy and the Economy 1, no. (2020): 95-128.

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TITLE Toward Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation
AUTHOR World Economic Forum (WEF)
PUBLISHED Jan 2020
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

A challenge that companies (including financial institutions) face in demonstrating long‑term value creation is the absence of a generally accepted international framework for the reporting of material aspects of ESG and other relevant considerations for long‑term value creation. This contrasts with the well‑established standards that exist for reporting and verifying financial performance.

The subsequent report therefore proposes a common, core set of metrics and recommended disclosures that can be used to align mainstream reporting and, in so doing, reduce fragmentation and encourage faster progress towards a systemic solution, perhaps to include a generally accepted international accounting standard. The metrics and disclosures proposed have been organized in four pillars that are aligned with the SDGs and principal ESG domains: Principles of governance, Planet, People and Prosperity.

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TITLE European Sustainable Finance Survey 2020
AUTHOR adelphi & ISS ESG
PUBLISHED Jan 2020
LANGUAGES
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Summary

This survey assesses the current state of alignment of listed European companies’ economic activities and banks’ lending activities with the EU Taxonomy for sustainable finance.

Commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, the survey also aims to to identify potential challenges in and potential solutions for measuring taxonomy alignment, raise awareness and build capacity regarding the EU taxonomy. The results help to inform the ongoing discussions on the EU Taxonomy at the EU level and to maximise the relevance and usability of the EU Taxonomy for key stakeholders, in particular listed companies and banks.

 

TITLE Climate risk assessment of the sovereign bond portfolio of European insurers
AUTHOR Battiston S., Jakubik P., Monasterolo I., Riahi K. , & van Ruijven B.
PUBLISHED Dec 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This publication is a collaboration between climate economists, climate financial risk modellers and financial regulators, and applies the CLIMAFIN framework described in Battiston at al. (2019) to provide a forward-looking climate transition risk assessment of the sovereign bonds’ portfolios of solo insurance companies in Europe. It was published in the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) December 2019 Financial Stability Report.

The authors consider a scenario of a disorderly introduction of climate policies that cannot be fully anticipated and priced in by investors. They find that the potential impact of a disorderly transition to low-carbon economy on insurers portfolios of sovereign bonds is moderate in terms of its magnitude, but non-negligible in several scenarios. Thus, climate policy scenarios should be regularly monitored and assessed given the importance of sovereign bonds in insurers’ investment portfolios.

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2019 Thematic Review - Climate risk assessment of the sovereign bond portfolio of European insurers.pdf - EN (pdf 512.1 kB)
TITLE Focus: EU Action Plan on Sustainable Finance. Effects on Swiss Financial Institutions.
AUTHOR Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF)
PUBLISHED Dec 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This publication, part of the SSF Focus series, provides an overview and status report of five of the key EU sustainable finance initiatives most relevant to Swiss financial institutions. The publication also contains a section on how Swiss institutions may be affected by the EU legislative measures, providing suggestions on a possible course of action. Additionally, the Focus looks at Swiss policy-related developments occurring in the area of sustainable finance.

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TITLE Der Klimawandel und die Finanzmärkte. Berücksichtigung von Klimarisiken und -chancen durch institutionelle Anleger in der Schweiz
AUTHOR Rolf H. Weber & Andreas Hösli
PUBLISHED Dec 2019
LANGUAGES DE 
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Summary

This scientific article (in German) puts forward the awareness of the issue of climate change has risen markedly in recent years, there are still open questions with regard to what legal consequences climate change entails - especially from the investor's point of view.

In the authors' view, institutional investors are already obliged under current law to take appropriate account of climate risks and opportunities as part of their fiduciary duty of care. They believe that increased self-regulatory efforts in the form of detailed industry recommendations on climate risks would be welcome, with the need for regulation in Switzerland to remain to be assessed. The authors underline that the transition towards a decarbonised society, including the climate compatibility of financial flows, to which Switzerland has committed itself in accordance with the Paris Agreement, is an urgent endeavor.

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Der Klimawandel und die Finanzmaerkte (pdf 858.8 kB)
TITLE Sustainable Investing Capabilities of Private Banks. Report #3: Assessment of 20 European Private Banks
AUTHOR Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (CSP)
PUBLISHED Nov 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

From late 2018 to early 2019, the Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (CSP) at the University of Zurich conducted its third round of research on the sustainable investing (SI) capabilities of private banks.

The report examines the sustainable investing vision, offering, and services of 20 European banks and features special chapters on the impact of the EU Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth and private banking and its alignment with international environmental goals. The authors found that in comparison to 2018, banks’ offerings have improved in terms of both range and depth.

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TITLE The Impact of ESG Investing in Emerging Market Equities
AUTHOR Candriam
PUBLISHED Nov 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This report looks at whether ESG factors add to, detract from, or have no effect on financial return for Emerging Market (EM) equities. Based on a decade of historical data, the authors analyse the risk/return profile of the Candriam ESG Emerging Markets universe.

The study found that over the period with sufficient testable historical data, an approach combining governance, controversy risk analysis and exposure to sustainability themes enhanced investment performance in emerging markets equities in ten out of eleven years (April 2008 through October 2018).

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TITLE IFZ Sustainable Investments Studie 2019
AUTHOR Lucerne University of Applied Sciences (Manfred Stüttgen & Brian Mattmann)
PUBLISHED Nov 2019
LANGUAGES DE 
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Summary

The "IFZ Sustainable Investments Study 2019. Nachhaltige Bonds und nachhaltige Fonds" conducted by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts assess the offering of sustainable mutual funds in the Swiss fund market for the third year in a row.

According to the study, the assets of sustainable mutual funds in Switzerland have risen by 22 percent to CHF 196 billion and counting 582 sustainable funds over the past year, while conventional mutual funds declined slightly over the same period. The report contains an overview of the largest sustainable funds in Switzerland.

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TITLE Leveraging the Potential of ESG ETFs for Sustainable Development
AUTHOR UNCTAD
PUBLISHED Nov 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require at least an extra $2.5 trillion a year, between 2015 and 2030. In order to bridge this investment gap, investment vehicles with an ESG or SDG dimension will play an important role. One vehicle that offers this potential is ESG ETFs — exchange traded funds (ETFs) based on corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

This report, released by UNCTAD in cooperation with Conser and TrackInsight, aims to provide an overview of the ESG ETF landscape, examine the main drivers behind the rapid rise of ESG ETFs in recent years and discuss possible actions that can be taken by key stakeholders to grow ESG ETFs into a mass market financial vehicle for sustainable development.

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TITLE Rechtliches Gutachten «Berücksichtigung von Klimarisiken und -wirkungen auf dem Finanzmarket» (Teil 1: Grundlagen)
AUTHOR Prof. Dr. Miriam Eggen & Dr. Cornelia Stengel
PUBLISHED Nov 2019
LANGUAGES DE 
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Summary

This legal opinion commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Envrionment (FOEN) shows that material climate risks already have to be taken into account to a large extent in current law. On a voluntary basis, climate impacts resulting from investment and financing decisions can also be measured and reported.

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Gutachten_Eggen_Stengel_11.11.2019 (pdf 513.8 kB)
TITLE Asset Managers and Climate Change. How the sector performs on portfolios, engagement and resolutions
AUTHOR Influence Map
PUBLISHED Nov 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This report by climate-change think tank InfluenceMap analyses the world’s 15 largest investment institutions, with $37 trillion in assets under management, and found that they are collectively deviating from the “Paris-aligned” allocations needed to reach the Paris Agreement goal of stopping global temperatures rising by 2°C. The report found $8.2 trillion invested in four top-polluting industries: oil and gas, coal mining, automobiles and electric power. While the Paris-misalignment of oil & gas should not come as a surprise, widely held automative and electric utilities sectors remain seriously out of line on climate.

Increasingly, forceful engagement with companies in these sectors must occur if the finance sector wishes to align its portfolios with Paris Agreement. However, the study found that investor-company engagement is often opaque and ill-defined. Only three big firms ― UBS Asset Management, Allianz and Legal & General ― “strongly and consistently engage with the companies they invest in to align their business models with Paris targets.”

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FinanceMap_Report_Nov_2019_Final (pdf 3.1 MB)
TITLE Swiss Microfinance & Impact Investments Report
AUTHOR Symbiotics & SECO
PUBLISHED Oct 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This paper reviews the evolution of private-sector development finance in Switzerland from 2010 to 2018. It analyzes the contribution of Swiss managers specialized in impact investing towards the financing of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing on the historical growth of their assets under management and the variety of products on offer.

The report is a follow up to the Swiss Microfinance Investments Report 2015 published by Symbiotics.

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TITLE Protecting our World Heritage, Insuring a Sustainable Future
AUTHOR UNEP Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative & WWF
PUBLISHED Oct 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This first-ever global insurance industry guide highlights the increasingly important role that the industry needs to play in protecting World Heritage Sites.

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TITLE Due Diligence for Responsible Corporate Lending and Securities Underwriting
AUTHOR OECD
PUBLISHED Oct 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This paper provides guidance for banks and other financial institutions to implement the recommendations of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in the context of their corporate lending and securities underwriting activities. Specifically, this paper explains what due diligence for responsible business conduct entails, and provides practical considerations for banks at each step of the due diligence process. This paper may also be helpful to other stakeholders seeking to understand due diligence approaches of banks.

The paper was developed in close consultation with leading global banks, civil society and trade unions, and approved by 48 governments.

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TITLE Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century - Final Report
AUTHOR Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
PUBLISHED Oct 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This is the final report of the UN PRI's "Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century" programme, which intended to clarify investor obligations and duties (fiduciary duties) in relation to the integration of ESG issues.

The report affirms that fiduciary duty requires the incorporation of ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes. It describes how this integration of ESG issues is an increasingly standard part of the regulatory and legal requirements for institutional investors, along with requirements to consider the sustainability-related preferences of their clients and beneficiaries, and to report on how these obligations have been implemented.

The report also identifies areas where further work is required and reflects on how investors’ duties and obligations may further evolve over time.

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TITLE IOPS Supervisory Guidelines on the Integration of ESG Factors in the Investment and Risk Management of Pension Funds
AUTHOR International Organisation of Pension Supervisors (IOPS)
PUBLISHED Oct 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

The IOPS Supervisory guidelines on the integration of ESG factors in the investment and risk management of pension funds highlight a range of challenges to be met by pension funds governing bodies, asset managers and pension supervisors.

The guidelines provide guidance and propose a number of actions to be taken by pension supervisory authorities, intending to help pensions supervisors to oversee pension funds more effectively by integrating ESG factors. While they are non-binding, the IOPS encourages supervisory authorities to voluntarily adopt and implement the guidelines.

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TITLE A sustainable and responsible investment guide for central banks’ portfolio management
AUTHOR Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS)
PUBLISHED Oct 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This guide is a hands-on approach aimed at central banks that wish to adopt Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) practices. It builds on the results of an SRI portfolio management survey among NGFS members and concludes with case studies of first-hand experiences by some NGFS members.

Among the five SRI strategies identified in the guide, the most prominent are green bond investments and negative screening for equity and corporate bond holdings.The survey shows that there is a growing momentum among NGFS members: 25 out of the 27 respondents have already adopted SRI principles in their investment approach or are planning to do so. Those principles range from a broad scope of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations to a climate-specific focus. As the mandates and status of central banks differ, the guide does not offer a one-size-fits-all solution, but discusses potential SRI approaches and ways to implement them, allowing central banks to account for their own specific challenges.

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TITLE Credit Suisse Gender 3000 Report (2019)
AUTHOR Credit Suisse
PUBLISHED Oct 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

The 2019 edition of the CS Gender 3000 report looks at the link between gender diversity and superior company performance and how this is evolving over time, analyzing 3000 companies across 56 countries.

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CS-gender-3000-in-2019 (pdf 1.2 MB)
TITLE IIF Sustainable Finance Working Group Report: The Case for Simplifying Sustainable Investment Terminology
AUTHOR Institute of International Finance (IIF)
PUBLISHED Oct 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

As global efforts to channel more private sector investment towards sustainable development ramp up, one key barrier has been the sheer proliferation of terms referring to “sustainable investment.” In a 2019 survey, the IIF Sustainable Finance Working Group (SFWG) polled member firms on their views. A significant majority agreed that industry alignment around simplifying terminology and product names into a few broad categories could greatly advance the goal of scaling up sustainable finance.

To help drive progress towards this goal, this short note sets out the case for simplification and proposes three such categories as a starting point for discussion: “Exclusion,” “Inclusion,” and “Impactful,” leaving “Philanthropic” as a separate category distinct from sustainable investment.

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TITLE Insuring a Low-Carbon Future. A practical guide for insurers on managing climate-related risks and opportunities
AUTHOR ShareAction
PUBLISHED Sep 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Based on interviews with 14 proactive insurers, this report explores how climate awareness is being integrated into underwriting, investment, and group-wide risk management practices. In addition to exploring common barriers, this report also presents a practical framework of eight building blocks relevant for insurers introducing and developing climate strategies.

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TITLE Financing the Low-carbon Future. A private-sector view on mobilising climate finance
AUTHOR Climate Finance Leadership Initiative
PUBLISHED Sep 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

The Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI) was launched in January 2019 in order to accelerate private sector investment for climate solutions. The seven founder members have published this report “Financing the Low-Carbon Future” which examines the challenges and potential solutions to delivering the necessary financing for a sustainable low-carbon economy.

The report highlights five factors that are hampering progress:

  • Proven investment models are not replicated at scale.
  • Risks in emerging markets constrain low-carbon investments.
  • Many low-carbon investments in key emitting sectors are not yet profitable.
  • The transition from carbon-intensive business models may create financial and social risk.
  • There is a lack of tools and incentives to align portfolios with a low-carbon future.

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Financing the Low-Carbon Future (pdf 9.4 MB)
TITLE The Inevitable Policy Response: Policy Forecasts
AUTHOR Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
PUBLISHED Sep 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

A forceful policy response to climate change is not priced into today’s markets. Yet it is inevitable that governments will be forced to act more decisively than they have so far, leaving investor portfolios exposed to significant risk. The longer the delay, the more disorderly, disruptive and abrupt the policy will inevitably be.

In anticipation, PRI, Vivid Economics and ETA are building a landmark forecast of the financial impact of this Inevitable Policy Response (IPR), including a Forecast Policy Scenario:

  • How will it affect the economy?
  • Which asset classes will be impacted?
  • Which sectors are most at risk?

A summary of the report can be accessed here. The project is a collaboration between the PRI, Vivid Economics and Energy Transition Advisors, with contributions from 2° Investing Initiative, Carbon Tracker and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

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TITLE Forecast Policy Scenario: Macroeconomic results
AUTHOR Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
PUBLISHED Sep 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Forecast Policy Scenario (FPS) models the impact of the forecasted policies on the real economy up to 2050, tracing detailed effects on all emitting sectors, including changes to energy demand (oil, gas, coal), transport, food prices, crop yields, and rates of deforestation.

A summary of this report can be accessed here. The Inevitable Policy Response (IPR) project project is a collaboration between the PRI, Vivid Economics and Energy Transition Advisors, with contributions from 2° Investing Initiative, Carbon Tracker and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

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