This Week’s Tech and Tools News: MSCI Screens for Biodiversity Risks

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news on technology and tools in the sustainable investing sector, including MSCI, Clearstream, Proxymity, Malk Partners, Integrum ESG, CGI, and Arvani. 

US-based data, analytics and research services provider MSCI has developed new tools to help investors identify companies at risk of contributing to biodiversity loss and deforestation. The screening tools, which MSCI aims to make available to investors in early 2023, combine thousands of ESG and climate data points which have been overlayed with MSCI’s geolocation data to help pinpoint a company’s operations. These tools include the MSCI Biodiversity-Sensitive Areas Screening Metrics, which enable investors to identify companies that have physical assets located in areas of high biodiversity relevance, and the MSCI Deforestation Screening Metrics, which indicate companies exposed to deforestation-related risks. They aim to support investors ahead of the introduction of financial regulations – such as the recent EU legislation banning imported goods connected to deforestation – which brings companies contributing to nature loss under increasing scrutiny, presenting financial risks for their investors. Nadia Laine, MSCI’s Head of ESG Products, said: “Global biodiversity challenges, such as the spread of invasive species, land-use change, and pollution, will have very tangible impacts on the way in which companies function in the near- and long-term future. MSCI aims to help institutional investors understand those risks on the portfolio level.” 

Post-trade infrastructure provider Clearstream has chosen digital investor communication platform Proxymity’s digital proxy voting service for nine European markets. Proxymity’s Vote Connect service includes issuer golden source meeting announcements published directly from issuers to investors in real time, with shareholders’ votes, and a confirmation that their votes have been counted at the annual general meeting, also sent digitally to issuers. Sam Riley, Clearstream’s Head of Securities Services, said: “At Clearstream, we always seek to optimise our clients’ experience throughout the whole securities life cycle. Together with our partner Proxymity, we are seeking to provide the best in digital proxy voting solutions, driving transparency, and increasing efficiency in the European capital markets.” 

Malk Partners, a California-based private market investors advisor, has entered into a strategic partnership with London-based ESG data, scoring, and benchmarking provider Integrum ESG to expand its offering of ESG data services for private market investors. The partnership looks to respond to increasing investor demand for data-driven ESG management that supports improved ESG performance across investors’ portfolios. Max Hong, Malk Partners’ CEO, said: “Our clients have been very clear. They want the best ESG data available – by which they mean, ESG data that is not only accurate, but customisable, easily captured, intuitively displayed, scored, and benchmarked against industry peers, and consistent with commonly-used ESG frameworks. Combining the capabilities of Malk and Integrum will enhance private investors’ ability to drive ESG performance and overall value creation.” 

Governance education and certification provider the Corporate Governance Institute (CGI) has partnered with online learning organisation ICS Learn to expand the reach of CGI’s courses and educate UK business leaders on a wider variety of topics. ICS Learn serves around 25,000 current students in more than 100 countries, predominantly in the UK, providing professional qualifications and apprenticeships in accountancy, marketing, procurement, leadership, and project management. Ciaran Bollard, the CGI’s CRO, said: “Our goal is to prepare board directors and aspiring directors for the highest level of governance, so we provide the highest level of training and certification. This clearly fits with the objectives of ICS Learn which in turn is looking to add to its already extensive portfolio.” 

Australian carbon-management start-up Avarni has raised A$3 million in an attempt to accelerate decarbonisation efforts with the world’s largest consultancies and enterprises. The second fundraising round since Avarni’s foundation in 2021 was led by deep tech venture firm Main Sequence, along with existing investors Vulpes Ventures and Common Sense Ventures. Avarni aims to assist consultancies and enterprise companies in understanding, reporting and forecasting their carbon footprint across Scope 1-3 emissions according to different decarbonisation scenarios. Tony Yammine, Avarni’s Ceo-founder and CEO, said: “Climate risk is one of the biggest concerns for executives, boards and shareholders today, and that’s not going away any time soon. Now, we’re entering a new exciting phase, which will see us remain laser focussed on providing extensive data sets and insights to become the go-to carbon management platform for companies and their advisors.” 

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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