This Week’s Tech and Tools News: ISS ESG Offers Biodiversity Impact Tool

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news on technology and tools in the sustainable investing sector, including ISS ESG, MSCI, Persefoni, PwC, Workiva, 9fin, Sphera, and Liquidnet. 

ISS ESG, the responsible investment arm of the US-based Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), has announced the launch of a biodiversity impact assessment tool. Introduced ahead of COP15, New York Climate Week and the UN Biodiversity Conference, the tool aims to support investors looking to align with evolving voluntary and statutory biodiversity frameworks in different parts of the world. In addition, it aims to aid investors in their measurement of their investment portfolios’ biodiversity-related impacts. The tool was developed by a team of biodiversity and modelling experts in partnership with Quantis, and leverages bottom-up assessments of companies’ business activities and supply chains to demonstrate the impact of operations on biodiversity. Head of ISS ESG, Dr Maximilian Horster, said: “[The tool’s] comprehensive package of biodiversity data points and robust impact assessment methodology helps investors to measure their portfolios’ biodiversity impact and address imminent and evolving regulatory reporting requirements globally.” 

Data, analytics and research services provider MSCI has launched Risk Insights, the first module of a new analytics platform, MSCI Insights. The platform calculates, stores, and delivers a broad range of risk measures through which investors can identify trends and respond to rapid changes in markets. The platform allows institutional investors to access a wide range of MSCI data and analytics, including performance attribution, index data, ESG data, and climate data modules. Further MSCI Insights modules are slated for release in Q4 2022 and 2023. Investors will also be able to customise a set of dashboards delivered on the cloud containing a broad set of metrics, such as time-series risk, factor risk, and stress tests. These data visualisations can help investors seeking to find concentrated positions, sectors, factors, or portfolios, and then identify what contributed to a portfolio’s change in risk and understand the elements that drives risks in portfolios over time. Jorge Mina, MSCI’s Global Head of Analytics, said: “By bringing together world-class content via cloud delivery, the risk module of MSCI Insights creates a single channel for institutional investors to not only review and house data, but also allows them to transform it into actionable information that ultimately supports a wide range of front-to-back investment activities.”   

US-based carbon management and accounting platform Persefoni has entered into a new partnership with accountancy and advisory firm PwC and ESG and financial reporting software platform Workiva. Through the partnership, the firms aim to accelerate the pace of climate reporting and compliance among organisations, assisting in overcoming challenges, including regulatory and investor pressure. It also looks to help “streamline the carbon accounting, compliance and ESG reporting journey”. PwC will advise on the deployment of Persefoni and Workiva’s joint solution, helping to enable carbon emissions calculation and reporting capabilities. This could include robust data strategy, technical integration, programme management, internal controls and process governance. Persefoni has also announced its expansion into Singapore. Kentaro Kawamori, Persefoni’s CEO and Co-Founder, said: “Singapore has established itself as the region’s climate hub and has committed policies and resources to make meaningful progress towards fighting climate change. We’re extremely excited to expand Persefoni’s global presence here and build a strong foothold for Asia Pacific.”  

Leveraged finance intelligence platform 9fin has a new ESG company data product which will enable 9fin subscribers to find key ESG information for any issuer within the leveraged finance market. The product will help subscribers benchmark and compare companies across key ESG metrics, including emissions, net zero targets, gender diversity, and workplace accidents. It will also track the ongoing ESG performance of companies that have issued sustainability-linked bonds, such as VodafoneZiggo and Novolex, identifying ESG leaders and laggards within key industries such as automotive, retail, and energy. Steven Hunter, 9fin’s Co-founder and CEO, said: “Currently, there is a distinct lack of high-quality ESG information in the leveraged finance space, with too many firms still disclosing little or no information. Sustainability-linked and green deals made up 25% of the new issue market last year, so it is really crucial that market participants can source standardised data and understand a company’s ESG credentials quickly and easily.”  

Sphera, a Chicago-based ESG software, data and consulting services firm, has acquired supply chain risk management software company riskmethods. The Munich-based firm was founded in 2013 and its SaaS solutions harnesses artificial intelligence (AI), big data and machine-learning to protect customers’ supply chain networks. Its software platform collects real-time information and supplier data, which it then utilises to provide users with detailed overviews of suppliers. These users can then prevent business disruption risk before it materialises and achieve supply chain transparency. Paul Marushka, Sphera’s President and CEO, said: “[riskmethods’] innovative approach to supply chain risk management bolsters Sphera’s capabilities in offering a Scope 3 emissions monitoring and reporting solution and furthers our mission of creating a safer, more sustainable and productive world.”  

Liquidnet, a New York-based agency broker and execution platform, has signed up to the Sustainable Trading initiative, a non-profit membership network working to transform ESG practices within the financial markets trading industry. This announcement solidifies the wider TP ICAP Group ambition to be the broker for the energy transition. This follows the group’s setting of new ESG targets, including a commitment made in April to reach net zero by 2026 across Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Rob Cranston, Liquidnet’s Global Head of Equities Products, said: “There is clear shift within the corporate world and financial services as a whole to create shared value within society, addressing societal needs and challenges through business models. We are hopeful the group can be a strong part of the solution to these challenges.” 

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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