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Lansons' ESG News Round-up

Latest update: April 30, 2021

News in brief

  1. Clients of the Hargreaves Lansdown platform have increased their net purchases of responsible investment funds forty fold in four years, according to data from the company. While the figure implies clients' investments have risen from a low base, it is in keeping with a surge in activity across the industry. Retail sales into responsible investment funds in the Investment Association universe reached an average of £1bn a month in 2020. (FT Adviser 23/04)
  2. BlackRock has launched two ETFs that aim to help investors align their portfolios with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, as the firm's EMEA sustainable range exceeds $50bn AUM. (Investment Week 26/04)
  3. Europe’s asset managers are continuing to ramp up their provision of sustainable index and exchange traded funds, launching 33 of these products in the first quarter, Morningstar data shows, compared to 29 in the same period last year. (Financial Times 27/04)
  4. The UK is in talks with some of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth and pension funds about investing in British green energy projects, including gigafactories and offshore wind farms. UK minister Gerry Grimstone told the Financial Times that he has had discussions with investors including Temasek and GIC, the Singaporean sovereign wealth funds, as well as Australian and Canadian public pension schemes. (Financial Times 28/04)
  5. Members of the boutique asset management think tank Independent Investment Management Initiative (IIMI) are largely in support of the European Union's Sustainable Financial Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) rules, but a "significant minority" are vocal in their concerns about the regulation. (Investment Week 29/04)
  6. Derivatives firm CME Group has launched an index futures contract based on the S&P Europe 350 ESG index. Subject to regulatory approval, the E-mini S&P Europe 350 ESG Index futures is a targeted risk management tool allowing investors to capture benchmark European equity exposure while integrating ESG. (ESG Clarity 29/04)
  7. Epworth Investment Management, which is owned by the Methodist Church and oversees its investments, has sold out of Royal Dutch Shell over the oil major’s “inadequate” response to climate change, weeks before a shareholder vote on the company’s energy transition plans. (Financial Times 30/04)

The comment pages

  1. Richard Milne writes an opinion piece in the Financial Times after sitting down with the Danish finance minister, Nicolai Wammen, and chief executive of privately owned Danfoss, Kim Fausing, for a joint interview on the future of green technology in Denmark. The joint interview is a sign of the harmony that exists between the public and private sector in Denmark, as they aim to position the country correctly to benefit from the green transition, aiming to achieve both shareholder returns and economic growth. However, as the green technology industry looks to flourish, there are issues on the horizon from both increased competition and a lack of ‘ambition’ from the EU.
  2. Claire Jones, partner and head of responsible investment at Lane Clark and Peacock gives her thoughts in ESG Clarity on how pension schemes can prepare for the TCFD’s (Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures). Claire outlines considerations that should be made by trustees and the steps that can be taken to ensure that when disclosures are made, they fulfil the requirements.
  3. Graham Weale, professor for energy economics at the Centre for Environmental Management Energy and Resources (Cure) writes in the Financial Times this morning about the new provisional agreement from the EU to reduce emissions by 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030. However, Professor Weale makes the point that, due to this being a more ambition target than previously outlined, a credible plan on how to achieve it is yet to be rolled out. When considering the measures that would need to be in such a plan, such as carbon taxes, and the difficulty governments would face in implementing them, Professor Weale draws a comparison with the Covid-19 crisis. Just as high levels of restrictions were needed to combat the virus, the same levels of intervention and restriction will likely be needed to achieve the target 55 per cent reduction from 1990 levels by 2030.

What’s happening next week?

The Financial Times is hosting its third edition of the Global Boardroom on “Strategies for a world transformed by crisis” between 4-6 May. The digital conference will discuss the practical steps governments, business and finance can take to build a resilient, sustainable recovery from the pandemic.

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Lansons sustainability advisors and experts

Our ESG Experience

Our own position on sustainability is part of what has made us a Great Place to Work (top 50) for the last 16 years running and a significant factor in us being named as Workplace Champion and Ethical Champion by our industry body, the PRCA.

We have built on this insight to offer clients robust and insightful advice on the development of sustainability, CSR and ESG narratives and associated multi-stakeholder communications strategies.

Our work in this area includes project for the Isle of Man Government, Tidal Lagoon Power and global flavour and fragrances business, Givaudan.

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