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This Week’s Tech and Tools News: Morningstar Launches Gender Diversity Index

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news on technology and tools in the sustainable investing sector, including Morningstar Indexes, Carnite, Persefoni, Blackstone, Tata and GaiaLens.  

Morningstar Indexes has launched a gender diversity index in collaboration with Dutch gender equality data & insights provider Equileap. The Eurozone Gender Diversity Index Select 50 aims to aid investors with realising their gender equality-focused goals. The index uses Equileap’s insights and data on gender equality and is designed to “provide exposure” to companies that have implemented strong gender equality practices and policies. The index methodology integrates exclusions based on product involvement filters as well as ESG risk scores from Sustainalytics. Factors including gender balance at all corporate levels and ensuring equal opportunity to all employees irrespective of gender are also considered in the index. The launch is part of Morningstar’s broader Gender Diversity Index series. Amelia Furr, Morningstar Indexes’ Head of Sales, said: “The launch of the index comes amid growing scrutiny of the make-up of investor portfolios. Investors and corporations have a role to play in developing gender equality. Research has shown that forward-looking diversity policies often go hand-in hand with better long-term performance of a business.”  

The Carnrite Group, a Houston-based management consultancy firm, and climate management and carbon accounting platform Persefoni have announced an expansion in their partnership which aims to “accelerate private sector carbon emissions reductions”. The firms have developed the Footprint Data Services solution, through which they will support businesses in reducing their emissions. The solution will provide companies with the resources and ability to accurately measure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with new climate disclosure regulations in the UK, EU and US.  The Footprint Data Services combines Persefoni’s SaaS carbon accounting platform and climate management with Carnrite’s sustainability advisory practice and carbon accounting facilities. Carnrite will be responsible for managing the collection of activity level data and preparation of collected activity data, as well as conducting data quality assurance and gap assessments to identify outliers in the client’s carbon footprint. CEO Al Carnrite said: “Combining our sustainability services with Persefoni’s carbon management software enhances our ability to help companies achieve their climate and sustainability goals. We’re excited to build upon our partnership and make it even easier for customers to adopt this market-leading software.”  

Blackstone Energy Partners (BEP), energy-focused arm of the private equity firm, has announced a US$400 million investment in global carbon and environmental commodities exchange platform Xpansiv. Xpansiv connects buyers and sellers of environmental commodities and provides market data for voluntary carbon offsets, low-carbon fuels and renewable energy credits. David Foley, BEP’s Global Head, said: “Xpansiv has a first-mover advantage, and Blackstone’s investment will enable them to capitalize upon that lead, creating a uniquely positioned company with ownership of critical software, technology, and a scalable exchange for trading voluntary carbon offsets and related environmental products. We believe this market will experience exponential growth over the next decade.”  

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), an Indian IT services consulting and business solutions firm, has launched its ESG Integration Solution on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. The solution aims to assist financial institutions in their impact measurement of ESG-related factors in their investments. It consists of a cloud-native ESG data ingestion platform and custom ESG scoring model, integrated with AWS Data Exchange, allowing more transparency and flexibility to align investment portfolios with ESG criteria. Krithi Krithivasan, TCS’ Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance Business Group Head, said: “By providing an integrated 360-degree vision of the ESG performance of companies and insight into the real-world impact of investments in terms of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, asset managers are afforded the transparency today and flexibility tomorrow to adapt to future changes to create differentiated investment products, services and customer experiences.”  

AI-driven ESG analytics platform GaiaLens has announced the launch of a new user interface to tackle common ESG data complaints. The platform has gone live with new versions of its three main dashboards which offer portfolio level analysis, stock level analysis and a new screening tool designed to aid portfolio construction. The portfolio dashboard enables investors to compare portfolio ESG performance to a benchmark, such as the S&P 500, and then find out what is driving its overall portfolio score, as well as flagging any ESG-related news incidents concerning their portfolio companies. Gordon Tveito-Duncan, GaiaLens’ Co-Founder, said: “Pilot users of our new dashboards have commented on how easily they can conduct these comparisons, assess the weaknesses in their portfolios and understand quickly why some holdings are underperforming in ESG terms.” 

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