The REP Wrap: Euronext head says ESG rating markdown 'annoying', firms called out for 'greenwash' lobbying

Your weekly summary of corporate sustainability news.

The CEO of Euronext Brussels has described being marked down by ESG ratings providers for not disclosing a human rights policy as “annoying”. During a conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Benoît van den Hove, who also sits on the management board of Euronext Group, said the listed stock exchange had conducted a materiality assessment as part of its duties under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. “Of the first 1,200 data points, we've come to about 50 on which we were going to report,” he explained, but added that ESG ratings providers have expansive lists of data points, which aren’t always based on materiality. “In our case, we were penalised because we had no policy on human rights,” said van den Hove. He described it as “annoying” and said that Euronext consequently drafted a human rights policy, but “I don't think that we treat our employees better or in a different way because of the fact that we have this policy on human rights”.

Most large companies are undermining their own climate pledges through their lobbying activities, according to research published by InfluenceMap this week. The NGO found that 58% of the 293 big corporations it assessed had not aligned their lobbying with their decarbonisation commitments. Those named in the research include Chevron, Delta Airlines, Duke Energy, Exxon, Glencore, Nippon Steel Corporation, Repsol and Woodside. More than 20% of firms were exposed to accusations of “net zero greenwash” because of the disconnect, InfluenceMap said. The findings were based on companies’ direct lobbying, as well as position papers and collaborative efforts to influence policy through trade bodies.  

The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero has published a list of companies that have introduced components of a climate transition plan that are aligned with its expectations. The influential initiative namechecks 16 real-economy firms, including Diageo, EasyJet, Bupa, Mondi, Vestas and Unilever. In the document, it highlights the part of each company’s disclosures that matches up to its guidelines in efforts to “generate inspiration” among other firms. 

EU lawmakers have reached a provisional agreement on new requirements for methane emissions produced by the energy sector. The regulation will require oil, gas and coal firms to measure, disclose and verify their emissions. It also encourages emissions reductions through management of leaks and flaring, for example. 

McKinsey has developed “a framework for a systemic response to [climate] adaptation” for the private and public sector. The proposals are based around 10 requirements, which cover topics including mindset, behaviour, technology and governance. “For each of these 10 requirements, we found early examples of progress,” McKinsey said. 

The Transition Pathway Initiative will now assess companies on whether their transition plans include clear, credible and financed actions. The project, set up by investors to help them understand which portfolio companies are on track for net zero, is now run by the London School of Economics. 469 companies have been added to the universe, bringing it to more than 1,0000. Scope 3 emissions will also be more widely evaluated as part of the new assessment methodology.