Christie’s Launches Environmental Sustainability Initiatives

Auction house Christie’s announced today its new Global Sustainability Initiative, including pledging to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, and committing to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to align with a 1.5°C warming trajectory.
Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

“As a market leader, Christie’s has a special responsibility in terms of protecting our environment and building a more sustainable business for now and for the future. We are committing to defined targets and transparent communication of our progress, while supporting collaboration across the industry.”

Christie’s new sustainability goals include a 50% reduction in its carbon emissions, achieving 90% diversion from landfill for its waste and providing all clients with packaging and printed material that is 100% recyclable. According to the company, efforts will focus on four key areas which make the most significant contribution to emissions, including shipping and logistics; business travel; energy, waste and water from the company’s buildings, and; printed materials.
The company has also made new transparency pledges, committing to annual reporting of future emissions and its progress towards targets, beginning this year. Christies stated that it worked with leading sustainability consultants Avieco to complete a review of all operational activities and measure its current global emissions.
Additionally, Christie’s stated that it will take a collaborative approach with suppliers and other stakeholders to work to reduce the collective environmental footprint up and down the supply chain. The company announced that it has joined the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) a non-profit organisation founded by a voluntary group of London-based gallerists and professionals, aiming to help the art world reduce its impact on the climate and to develop a meaningful and industry-specific response to the growing climate crisis.
Tom Woolston, Global Head of Operations and leading Christie’s Sustainability program, said:

“From now on, the lens of sustainability must inform all of our activities. We understand that making good on these commitments will require a shift in culture and recognise that there is much to be done to adapt across the business.”

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S&P Global Platts to Launch Green Aluminum Prices

Energy and commodities markets information, benchmark and analytics provider S&P Global Platts announced today that it will begin publishing new low-carbon aluminium price assessments for the European markets, including a Low-Carbon Aluminum Price (LCAP), and a Zero-Carbon Aluminum Price (ZCAP), effective April 6. The company said that the launch marks the first of a planned suite of low-carbon metals and raw materials assessments.
According to S&P Global Platts, the launch comes in response to market participants’ desire for greater transparency in the low-carbon metals space. These entities range from producers seeking acknowledgement of the advances made in reducing carbon at the smelting stage to end-users increasingly demanding that suppliers certify the material they provide has been made with renewable energy or comes from low-carbon sources.
Ian Dudden, Global Pricing Director for Metals and Agriculture, S&P Global Platts, said:

“The launch of our green aluminum assessments follows extensive engagement with market participants throughout the aluminum value chain. These new prices align with S&P Global Platts’ strategic focus on offering ESG-related commodities pricing, and are in response to requests from market participants for new pricing transparency to help them quantify cost and manage risks and opportunities associated with a growing focus on carbon-reduction strategies and increasing global regulation.”

The Platts LCAP will be assessed as a premium to the LME cash-settlement price, and will apply to primary aluminum with a maximum emissions level of 4 metric tons (mt) of CO2 per mt of aluminum at the smelter. Other quantities and emission levels will be normalized to this basis. Platts will only include aluminum in this assessment which has had its smelter scope 1 and 2 emissions certified by an internationally accepted, independent organization.
The Platts ZCAP for primary aluminum will leverage Platts CEC, the firm’s existing CORSIA-eligible carbon-credit price assessments to calculate the voluntary cost of offsetting the carbon emissions of the LCAP assessment to zero.
Dudden added:

“While Platts is initially providing new low-carbon pricing focused on aluminum, we also plan to launch additional price and cost references throughout the metals and raw materials value chains and we welcome feedback on our plans for expanding low-carbon pricing offerings. What sets Platts low-carbon price assessments apart is their daily frequency, as well as the ability of Platts to leverage expertise and price assessing capabilities across commodities and voluntary carbon sectors, which help market participants navigate the emerging global energy transition.”

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Arabesque Bril Hasselgren

Arabesque Deepens Sustainability Team with New Hires Herman Bril and Ulrika Hasselgren

Sustainable finance technology provider Arabesque Group announced today the appointments of Hires Herman Bril as CEO of Arabesque Asset Management, and Ulrika Hasselgren as Head of Nordics as well as Head of Europe for Corporates and Sovereigns.
Arabesque stated that the new appointments come as the firm expands its services to meet rapidly increasing demand for sustainability and AI technology solutions across global markets. The announcement follows the recent hiring by Arabesque of Daniel Klier as its new President, and as CEO of the company’s ESG data platform Arabesque S-Ray.
Bril, who will be joining Arabesque in July, has been serving as CIO of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) since 2016, where he developed and implemented the fund’s sustainable investment strategy, with assets under management increasing from $52 billion to $82 billion during his tenure. In his new role, Bril will be responsible for Arabesque’s global asset management business and its growing suite of AI-driven sustainable investment products and solutions, including the firm’s new net-zero climate investment strategy that launches this year for clients.
Bril said:

“Technology and data are playing a key role in reshaping sustainable investing, spurring market transformation away from industrial-era concepts towards future-fit models and new horizons.
“Powered by the market-leading ESG data assets of S-Ray and the group’s AI technology, Arabesque can help drive change through its autonomous, sustainable investment products and solutions.
“I am thrilled to be joining Arabesque’s exceptional team of sustainable investment engineers, and scaling-up the delivery of competitive ESG strategies that reflect client values whilst delivering market returns.”

Hasselgren joins Arabesque after serving as Global Head of Sustainability and Impact Investment at Danske Bank, where she developed a vision and strategic roadmap for the bank’s journey to embed sustainability into the core of its investment business. Hasselgren co-founded Ethix SRI Advisors in 1999, which was acquired by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) in 2015, where she continued to serve as Global Head of RI Strategy and ESG Integration until joining Danske Bank in 2018. In her new role, she will be responsible for overseeing Arabesque’s range of ESG data and insights services for corporate and sovereign clients in Europe, and will lead the group’s activities and expansion in the Nordic region and will be based in Stockholm.
Hasselgren said:

“Over the coming few years, technology will transform the global marketplace, with artificial intelligence shaping the rapid evolution of financial services from online banking to asset management, and ushering in the next generation of ESG products.
“The emergence of technology has also enabled the integration of sustainability within business and investment processes at a greater scale than ever before, and Arabesque will play a key leadership role in this transition through its unique range of AI-based ESG solutions.
“I’m excited to be joining Arabesque’s fast-growing team with its collaborative and entrepreneurial culture, and I look forward to bringing innovative new data, insights and investment products to the Nordic market.”

Georg Kell, Chairman of the Arabesque Group and founding Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, added:

“A more sustainable financial system is starting to emerge, with technology and digitalisation the key drivers shaping the future of ESG investing.
“I am thrilled to welcome Herman Bril and Ulrika Hasselgren to Arabesque, with their experience of successfully developing and implementing sustainable investment strategies at various financial institutions. As the company scales up its products and services worldwide to meet market demand, their vision and leadership will be invaluable.”

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McKinsey Bolsters Sustainability and Climate Capabilities with Acquisitions of Vivid Economics & Planetrics

Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company announced the acquisition of strategic economics consultancy Vivid Economics, and climate analytics platform Planetrics, bolstering the firm’s sustainability and climate capabilities.
According to McKinsey, the acquisitions will bring expertise, analytics, and experience to the firm, helping clients assess climate and nature-related risk, develop environmentally and socially sustainable strategies, navigate large structural economic shifts, and create value through sustainable transformations.
McKinsey Senior Partner Dickon Pinner, said:

“While progress has been made, the majority of stakeholders are unprepared for the physical and financial impact to their businesses and to society. This acquisition will enable us to help clients across all sectors and geographies transform themselves to successfully navigate the risks and opportunities presented by the economy-wide transition to a more sustainable future.
“Vivid Economics and Planetrics are a passionate group of people, and together we share a common desire to positively impact business and society.”

Vivid Economics launched Planetrics in December 2020, aiming designed to enable financial institutions to quantify, report and manage climate-related risks and opportunities, down to the level of individual assets, using highly detailed analytics to model and price climate risk.
Jason Eis, CEO of Vivid Economics and Chairman of Planetrics, said:

“McKinsey has been a leading voice in sustainability and climate change. We are looking forward to combining our collective experience, technology, and our analytical and creative thinking in the pursuit of tackling such critical global challenges.”

Robin Smale, Director and Co-Founder of Vivid Economics, added:

“We are proud to be joining McKinsey to help clients create a sustainable future. This acquisition is a testament to the passion, courage, skill, and hard work of the Vivid Economics and Planetrics teams.”

McKinsey stated that the addition of Vivid Economics will accelerate the firm’s existing Sustainability and Risk & Resilience capabilities and talent, while the Planetrics suite will help its clients generate detailed company and business models that depict the impact of decarbonization and other moves related to climate risk.
McKinsey Senior Partner Cindy Levy, said:

“Embedding climate risk factors into every sector has now become an imperative. The financial impact of climate change is significant, and stakeholders need the latest intelligence on physical and transition climate risks to re-allocate capital and transform portfolios.”

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Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs to Align Financing Activities with 2050 Net Zero Pathway

Leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm Goldman Sachs announced a series of sustainability and sustainable finance announcements today, including stating that the bank will align its financing activities with a net zero by 2050 pathway.
In setting this new commitment, Goldman joins other major Wall Street banks who have also set goals to Paris Agreement aligned financing. Earlier this week, Citi’s Jane Fraser established a 2050 net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) financing target for the bank on her first day as CEO.  Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan have made similar commitments.
The new commitments were revealed in an update on the bank’s sustainable finance goals by Chairman and CEO David Solomon.
Solomon said:

“We are committed to working with our clients, our industry peers, and the public sector to make this commitment a reality. And while long-term aspirations are important, business leaders must not lose sight of what we can do in the here and now to accelerate climate transition.”

Solomon highlighted several initiatives the bank is pursuing towards its own climate goals, encompassing disclosure, setting near-term targets, and the integration of climate risk considerations into business practices.
On the disclosure front, Goldman issued its first TCFD report last year, and the bank has begun asking our clients to disclose more of their climate data, and to encourage companies it invests in to adopt the SASB and TCFD frameworks. Solomon said that the bank is aspiring to integrate both frameworks into the investment process of its Goldman Sachs Asset Management business.
In terms of near- and mid-term goals, Goldman Sachs committed to set interim business-related climate targets by the end of 2021. The bank also set a new commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions in its supply chain by 2030.
The company also said that in its upcoming TCFD report this year, it will lay out in detail how it is taking climate-risk considerations into account both in its business practices and its business selection.
In the update, Solomon also stated that Goldman has already reached over 20% of its 2030 target of $750 billion in sustainable financing, investing, and advisory activity after just one year. Solomon also highlighted other sustainable finance highlights for the bank, including its own recent $800 million sustainability bond issue.
Solomon said:

“The fact that we surpassed a fifth of our goal in a single year demonstrates that sustainable finance has already become a core offering from Goldman Sachs – and the demand among our clients shows no signs of slowing down.”

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SEC Launches Climate and ESG Enforcement Task Force

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today the creation of a new Climate and ESG Task Force in the Division of Enforcement. The new task force will develop initiatives to proactively identify ESG-related misconduct, with an initial focus on identifying material gaps or misstatements in issuers’ disclosure of climate risks. The task force will also analyze disclosure and compliance issues relating to investment advisers’ and funds’ ESG strategies.
In addition, the task force will evaluate and pursue tips, referrals, and whistleblower complaints on ESG-related issues, and provide expertise and insight to teams working on ESG-related matters across the Division.
The creation of the Climate and ESG Task Force marks the latest step in a renewed focus on ESG and sustainability at the SEC. Last week, the SEC announced a review of its guidance for public company obligations for disclosures related to climate change risk, and earlier this year, the commission created a new senior role, with responsibility for advising and overseeing on climate risk and ESG issues, naming Satyam Khanna as Senior Policy Advisor for Climate and ESG.
Acting SEC Chair Allison Herren Lee, said:

“Climate risks and sustainability are critical issues for the investing public and our capital markets. The task force announced today will play an important role in enhancing and coordinating the efforts of the Division of Enforcement, the Office of the Whistleblower, and other parts of the agency to bolster the efforts of the Commission as a whole on these vital matters.”

The Climate and ESG Task Force will be led by Kelly L. Gibson, Acting Deputy Director of Enforcement, who will oversee a Division-wide effort, with 22 members drawn from the SEC’s headquarters, regional offices, and Enforcement specialized units. According to the SEC, the task force will coordinate the effective use of Division resources, including through the use of sophisticated data analysis to mine and assess information across registrants, to identify potential violations.
Gibson said:

“Proactively addressing emerging disclosure gaps that threaten investors and the market has always been core to the SEC’s mission. This task force brings together a broad array of experience and expertise, which will allow us to better police the market, pursue misconduct, and protect investors.”

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CDPQ & S2G Sustainable Venture Fund Makes First Investment in Food Tech Company Benson Hill

Food tech company Benson Hill announced today that it has received an investment from a recently launched sustainability-focused venture fund by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and S2G Ventures (S2G). The investment forms part of Benson Hill’s recently announced $150 million Series D funding round, which also included other strategic and ESG-focused investors.
Benson Hill aims to unlock the natural genetic diversity of plants with its cutting-edge food innovation engine to create healthier, great-tasting and sustainable food and ingredient options, through its CropOS technology platform, combining food science, data science and plant biology. The capital raise is aimed at enabling the company to advance its Cloud Biology and CropOS platforms, enhance partner development efforts across the value chain and build out the supply chain for its novel food and feed ingredients to meet the growing demand for plant-based foods and premium animal feed markets.  
Matt Crisp, Benson Hill Chief Executive Officer, said:

“The food and agriculture system is under enormous pressure to evolve beyond the traditional commodity model to meet the demands of today’s consumers and boost resiliency in the face of climate change. CDPQ and S2G recognize the urgency of accelerating the evolution of the current agri-food system through innovation, and the critical role of innovators such as Benson Hill to help ensure that food is better from the beginning – better for people, better for farmers and better for the planet. Benson Hill is proud to be a part of this initiative by CDPQ and S2G, and of our partnerships across the food and agriculture supply chain.”

The investment marks the first by the venture fund. The fund was launched in September 2020 by CDPQ and S2G, seeking to invest up to US$125 million over the next 3 years in ventures that aim to make the food and agriculture industry more sustainable and climate friendly.
Mario Therrien, Head of Investment Funds and External Management at CDPQ, said:

“Benson Hill’s mission, focused on improving the sustainability and efficiency of the global agriculture and food supply chain, is aligned with CDPQ’s conviction that performance and progress go hand in hand. As a company with deep technology expertise across the food and agriculture value chain, Benson Hill is well equipped to deliver more sustainable options to consumers while helping reduce the agri-food industry’s carbon footprint. We are delighted to support its growth while delivering returns for our clients.”

Sanjeev Krishnan, Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director at S2G Ventures and member of the Benson Hill Board of Directors, added:

“This investment in Benson Hill reflects the core of our investment philosophy at S2G Ventures: companies that both do well and do good are best-positioned to deliver value today and be competitive in the future. Benson Hill is an attractive investment not only because of its strong performance and continued growth trajectory, but also because of the way the company and its technology can address looming challenges and add value across the broader food and agriculture value chain, from farmers to end-consumers.”

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Teneo Launches Practice to Help Companies Navigate New Social and Business Environments

Global CEO advisory firm Teneo announced today the launch of Teneo Performance, a new business designed to help companies successfully navigate the long term social and business impacts brought about by the events of the last 12 months. According to Teneo, the new business will encompass experiential programs and organizational changes, built around new norms of diversity, inclusion, purpose and sustainability, fully integrated with new hybrid models of working.
Teneo Chairman and CEO Declan Kelly said:

“Now is the right time to launch Teneo Performance as the world returns to the workplace and CEOs will need to find new ways to engage and motivate themselves, their teams and their organizations to be successful in what we call the ‘New Different’ global operating environment. To really build performance, companies must internalize current experiences from multiple, diverse sources – including wins but also experiences of significant challenge and setbacks. Teneo brings direct exposure to leaders who have been at the coalface of performance and have compelling stories to tell. We are delighted to be starting this business with a great team in Ireland and look forward to expanding it to be of a global scale over the coming weeks and months to help our clients around the world.”

Areas of focus for the new business will include corporate purpose development, culture transformation, organizational alignment, talent strategy, ESG and DEI leadership, among others, built around senior-led and delivered interactive development programs and mentorship.
Teneo Performance will launch initially in Ireland, where it will work closely with senior executives of both Irish and multinational corporations. The business will be led by Chairman of Teneo International, Chris Wearing, and will leverage the insights and expertise of Teneo’s senior team including organizational performance advisors James Bowen and Brian MacNeice who joined Teneo last year through the acquisition of Kotinos Partners. Liam Sheedy has been appointed as a Vice Chairman of the business in Ireland.
Teneo International Chairman Chris Wearing said:

“The past 12 months have accelerated so many important trends for companies – digitization, alignment with purpose, diversity & inclusion, focus on employee mental wellness – that leaders need a more comprehensive approach to attaining high performance based on directly relevant experiences across multiple situations.  As rapid change, disruption and uncertainty now dictate the business climate, leaders can no longer rely on academic ‘one size fits all’ leadership and performance models.”

Teneo Senior Advisor Ursula Burns added:

“Corporate boards around the world are focused squarely on the issues Teneo Performance is working to solve in response to the need for diversity and the dramatic changes to the workplace caused by COVID-19. The post pandemic world will require companies to take a new approach to how they develop and engage their workforce. I look forward to working closely with the Teneo Performance team to help companies address these challenges.”

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Northern Trust

Northern Trust Asset Management Brings FlexShares to Europe with Launch of New Climate ETFs

Global investment manager Northern Trust Asset Management announced the launch of two new climate-focused ETFs, the FlexShares Developed Markets Low Volatility Climate ESG UCITS ETF (QVFD) and the FlexShares Developed Market High Dividend Climate ESG UCITS ETF (QDFD). The launch of the new investment products marks the first FlexShares ETFs by Northern Trust in the European market, with more planned in the coming months.
Marie Dzanis, Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Northern Trust Asset Management, said:

“We’re pleased to present the first FlexShares products in Europe, which reflect Northern Trust Asset Management’s three decades of experience in managing sustainability-focused investment strategies. Actively designed with the transparency of indexing, these two ETFs are built specifically to fit within EMEA investors’ evolving needs to help manage portfolio volatility and deliver income in a low yield environment while doing so with a focus on quality.”

FlexShares partnered with index provider STOXX to develop benchmarks for the new ETFs. The FlexShares Developed Markets Low Volatility Climate ESG UCITS ETF tracks the iSTOXX Northern Trust Developed Markets Low Volatility Climate ESG Index. The ETF features stocks that exhibit lower overall absolute volatility cash flow, combined with factors to maximize quality, improve ESG ratings and create minimum variance.
The FlexShares Developed Market High Dividend Climate ESG UCITS ETF is an income fund that tracks the iSTOXX Northern Trust Developed Markets High Dividend Climate ESG Index. The ETF features stocks that exhibit a high potential to generate income, integrating factors that maximize quality, improve ESG ratings and enhance dividend yield.
The ETFs launched with listings on the London Stock Exchange and EuroNext and are available in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.
Darek Wojnar, Global Head of Funds, ETFs & Managed Accounts, said:

“FlexShares has been leveraging Northern Trust Asset Management’s investment capabilities since our initial US launch in 2011. As a global asset manager, we are pleased to extend our deep principle-based culture and collaborative approach with leading market expertise to complement our existing strategies in the European marketplaces.”

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Acadian Asset Management Appoints Andy Moniz as Director of Responsible Investing

Global systematic investing company Acadian Asset Management announced today that it has hired Andy Moniz, appointing him as its new Director of Responsible Investing. In his new role, Moniz will lead the firm’s global ESG efforts and will oversee the firm’s ESG strategies, related research initiatives, and active ownership tactics. Moniz will also serve as the chair for Acadian’s Responsible Investing Committee. 
Brendan Bradley, Chief Investment Officer at Acadian, said:

“We are thrilled to have Andy join the team to lead Acadian’s global ESG initiatives and help further shape our responsible investing approach. Andy’s wealth of experience with ESG strategies in quantitative finance and data science will be a tremendous asset as we continue to evolve our research efforts and expand our sustainable solutions in this important space.”

Prior to joining Acadian, Moniz worked at Putnam Investments, where he served as Director of Applied Data Science Investments, leading a team of data scientists focused on the creation of NLP long-short thematic and ESG strategies. Before joining Putnam, Moniz served as Managing Director, Chief Data Scientist and Head of Quant Equity Research at Deutsche Bank.
Acadian integrates an array of ESG factors into its core investment process. According to the firm, these factors are the products of an extensive, 30-year research program into signals that further its clients’ sustainability and investment objectives. The firm was the first quantitative manager to sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2009. Acadian currently manages $107 billion in assets.
Moniz said:

“I’m excited to continue to build upon the firm’s robust responsible investing strategy and approach. Acadian is a thought leader within systematic ESG investing, and I look forward to adding to the firm’s longtime efforts to evaluate and incorporate ESG considerations into its process to improve clients’ investment outcomes over the long term.”

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