Asia-Pacific

This Week’s Tech and Tools News: FTSE Russell Launches Sustainable Fixed Income Indexes

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news on technology and tools in the sustainable investing sector, including FTSE Russell, GRESB, GI Hub, MAS, Google Cloud, Apex, Clarity AI, Blackrock eFront and Normative.   

Global index, data and analytics provider FTSE Russell has announced the launch of a new set of sustainable investment fixed income (SIFI) indexes. The FTSE Fixed Income Global Choice Index Series (FIGCIS), the FTSE Fixed Income Excluding Fossil Fuels Enhanced Index Series (FIEFFEIS), the FTSE Global Choice Series (GCS), and the FTSE Ex Fossil Fuels Series (EFFS), are tailored for investors looking to integrate their sustainable investment strategy into their fixed income investments. The FIGCIS and FIEFFEIS use a methodology inspired by their equity counterparts, while the GCS and EFFS aim to ensure consistency across equities and fixed income. Scott Harman, FTSE Russell’s Global Head of Fixed Income, said: “Our new FTSE Russell SIFI indexes address a growing need for sustainable investment solutions in the fixed income market. We have developed a thorough methodology to enable investors to exclude issuers based on their conduct or product involvement in specific sectors.”  

GRESB, an Amsterdam-based ESG data provider, and G20-formed non-profit Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) have announced a new strategic partnership. Aiming to involve a wider variety of stakeholders and improve the availability and quality of ESG data and insight, the partnership formalises an ongoing collaboration between the two organisations and is intended to inform the evolution of the GRESB Infrastructure Standards and Benchmark through regional and national engagements. Sebastien Roussotte, GRESB’s CEO, said: “Together, we can build upon the knowledge we obtain from GRESB infrastructure members, better highlight the critical role ESG plays in infrastructure investments and provide data-driven insights to benefit the wider infrastructure community.” GRESB has also launched a new SFDR reporting solution for real estate, to help managers with funds labelled as Article 8 or 9 under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) to meet reporting requirements. The solution offers an interactive report that includes all required information for a fund manager to finalise a Principal Adverse Impact Statement, which is a key requirement under SFDR. Roussotte said: “We created this solution to provide fund managers with the flexibility and the data they need to stay compliant at a very competitive price and time investment. And a significant portion of the SFDR reporting burden has been eliminated.”  

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank, and cloud computing services suite Google Cloud have jointly announced the launch of a new climate fintech support programme. The programme aims to catalyse the growth of climate fintech solutions across Asia over the next three years, driving the scaling, innovation and incubation of these solutions. For the programme, fintech firms and solution providers will be invited to submit “innovative” technological solutions to address a variety of climate finance problem statements. The top 100 submissions will be shortlisted for further development and tested by a pool of 1,000 financial institutions on their ability to facilitate capital flows towards green and sustainable projects in Asia. The programme will include mentorship and funding components supported by Google Cloud, with participants also able to leverage its aggregated climate disclosure, environmental and public utilities data. Google Cloud will support the programme through the launch of a first-of-its-kind open-source climate finance dedicated cloud platform. This will be used to facilitate the deployment of climate fintech solutions and their adoption by the financial sector. Dr Darian McBain, MAS’ Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “We see the Point Carbon Zero Programme as a key enabler for bridging ESG fintechs, finance, and real economy businesses through a shared data and innovation platform.”  

Apex Group, a global financial services provider, has announced the expansion of its Global Compliance Solutions into the Singapore market. The expansion aims to provide clients with tech-enabled compliance and anti-money laundering (AML) solutions to meet their operational and regulatory obligations across international financial hubs. The launch of Compliance Solutions in the Singapore market aims to aid clients in addressing concerns and risks around ESG, Environmental and climate risk AML and compliance, and emerging technologies – including crypto/digital assets – and Artificial Intelligence in financial services. Apex’s solutions focus on market demand in four areas: ESG and sustainability compliance, fintech compliance, digital and crypto assets compliance, and global compliance. Hari Bhambra, Apex Group’s Compliance Solutions Global Head, said: “Singapore has an established yet evolving regulatory landscape, with its regulator MAS taking a proactive forward-thinking role in setting out a clear direction of travel on issues such as ESG, climate and environmental risk and digital assets.”  

Sustainability technology platform Clarity AI has partnered with Blackrock’s eFront, an end-to-end alternative investment management software and solutions provider. The partnership aims to allow Clarity AI to bring its capabilities to global private markets. Rebeca Minguela, Clarity AI’s CEO and Founder, said: “Our technology allows us to provide sustainability solutions at scale. Our ability to estimate data with proprietary machine learning algorithms sets us apart as a sustainability data provider that can address the needs of the players in the private markets almost immediately.”  

Normative, a carbon accounting provider, has raised €31 million to accelerate the expansion of its carbon accounting engine. The round was led by Blume Equity, alongside participation from Horizon Ventures, ETF Partners, 2150 and Future Five, with the funds enabling Normative to expand its service. The service is audit-ready and compliant, and the expansion will allow the firm to to offer it to more businesses and provide customers with accurate data on their supply chains to reduce and measure emissions, including Scope 3. Kristian Rönn, Normative’s CEO, said: “There is a real urgency for businesses to take genuine climate action, and genuine climate action is about getting the fundamentals right: what gets measured, gets managed.” 

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