This Week’s Tech and Tool News: Buck Supports UK Pension Schemes on TCFD

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news on technology and tools in the sustainable investing sector, including S&P, Zühlke, Scope Group and Swiss Re.

Buck, a consulting, technology and administrative services firm, has launched an ESG dashboard for UK pension schemes, enabling pension scheme trustees and sponsors to comply with the 2021 Pensions Schemes Act (passed February 2021). The dashboard will allow pension schemes to access scheme-specific ESG data to aid in their compliance requirements. Recognising that every trustee board and sponsor will have their own ESG-related priorities, the dashboard can be tailored according to preferences and therefore provide the most relevant ESG data. This follows the incorporation of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting guidelines into the Pension Schemes Act. Schemes with over £5 billion in AUM must publish information on the climate-related risks and impacts they are exposed to by December 31 2022. Schemes between £1 billion and £5 billion have an extra year to comply. “ESG investing has been gathering momentum for quite some time and the regulatory changes and climate-related financial disclosures that will come into force as part of the Pension Schemes Act 2021 are going to rapidly accelerate this. The ability to compile clear and relevant ESG management information is now an absolutely essential consideration for UK schemes as part of the decision-making process and it’s only going to become more relevant,” said Celene Lee, Principal and Senior Investment Consultant at Buck.

S&P Dow Jones Indices has launched sustainable versions of its Dividend Aristocrats Indices. The S&P Developed ESG, ESG High Yield, ESG, ESG Quality Income and Euro ESG High Yield Dividend Aristocrats indices measure and screen the dividend yield-weighted ESG-related performance of holdings in the parent indices. Using the S&P Global ESG scoring system, the indices will exclude corporates that are involved in ESG-related controversies or aren’t aligned with the principles of the United Nations’ Global Compact. “The S&P ESG Dividend Aristocrats Indices include a layer of sustainability screens, reflecting the market’s growing recognition of the financial materiality and impact of ESG issues on corporate balance sheets,” said Reid Steadman, Global Head of ESG Indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Global innovation service provider Zühlke has launched a new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Investor App, which is designed to provide investors with data and other underlying information to support investment into the UK electric vehicle sector. Using cloud-based, curated modelling, the app will keep investors up-to-date with current and planned initiatives for the energy system as it transitions in accordance to the UK’s net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target. “This App, which will start with the Highlands of Scotland and move on to cover the rest of the UK in future stages, is squarely aimed at helping potential investors quickly identify the specific location where investment is needed, whether for Green generation, charging points, battery storage and other new infrastructure,” said Dan Klein Director of the Solutions Centre for Zühlke UK.

Scope Group has expanded its ESG services offering with a second-party opinion (SPO) service for green bonds and labelled ESG bonds. Scope Group has been approved as a verifier under Climate Bonds Initiative’s Climate Bonds Standard and Certification Scheme. The SPO service has a five-levelled scoring model which will label how ‘green’ bond products are. Three green leaves will indicate that the bond has a very strong environmental contribution and strong alignment to all market standards, whereas a brown leaf indicates it has a negative environmental impact. “The rapid world-wide growth of labelled ESG debt issuance across all borrower universes – sovereigns, government and supranational agencies, financial institutions and corporates – is driving parallel demand for independent opinions, certification, assurance and verification as institutional investors and issuers focus on meeting ever-pressing ESG demands from clients,” said Diane Menville, Head of ESG at Scope.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, the commercial insurance arm of the Swiss Re Group, has launched a suite of Climate Risk Solutions for Corporates across the Asia Pacific region. The solutions are designed to help corporates and asset managers to identify and mitigate physical climate risk exposures to their operations or portfolios. The Climate Risk Score Framework assesses exposure to various physical climate risks, such as flash floods, wildfires and droughts using forward-looking climate model data.

The practical information hub for asset owners looking to invest successfully and sustainably for the long term. As best practice evolves, we will share the news, insights and data to guide asset owners on their individual journey to ESG integration.

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