October 12, 2020: The European Commission (EC) delays the implementation of level 2 SFDR (Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation) at ‘the beginning of 2022’ (likely January 2022).

Level 1 regulation (what is “high level and principle-based requirements) “will enter into force in March 2021:

  • Art. 3 Transparency of sustainability risk policies
  • Art. 5 Transparency of remuneration policies in relation to the integration of sustainability risks
  • Art. 6 Transparency of the integration of sustainability risks

The other level 2 SFDR Articles, among which Art. 4 on Transparency of adverse sustainability impacts at entity level, are to be delayed to January 2022.

NB: The Commission has written to two trade associations, the Italian Assogestioni and the German Bundesverband Investment und Asset Management in response to their calls for a general deferral of the SFDR requirements.

October 1st, 2020: answers from 125 respondents to the European Union public consultation on the future law about compulsory indicators by March 2021 for Financial Market Participants are now available online.

https://www.esma.europa.eu/press-news/consultations/joint-esa-consultation-esg-disclosures

Dowloading the answers and reading them is very useful because one can see which bank, insurance company, organization, or country defends animal welfare, animal rights or not, is pro or against fossil fuel energies, wishes mandatory indicators or not.

Among the answers :

1. Only WWF and Vegan Finance (VF) have included the word “animal” and animal criterion as a suggested mandatory indicator.

2. A vast majority of banks, insurance companies and lobbies are against compulsory indicators or want to limit them to a maximum of 10 vs. 32 initially, such as BNP, Groupama, Amundi, Allianz, State Street, Aberdeen, Allianz, Candriam, Invesco, US Chamber of Commerce, MEDEF.

3. Only few players are for mandatory indicators, such as: WWF, Vegan Finance, Bloomberg, CFA Institute, Moody’s/ Vigeo Eiris/ Four Twenty Seven, CDP, Mirova, Environment Agency Austria, 2° Investing Initiative, Better Finance, Climate Disclosure Standards Board

4. Only few organizations propose an extension of the definition of fossil fuels, limited to solid forms only (by the definition of the law project), to liquid and gaseous forms : WWF, Vegan Finance, UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), Mirova, Invesco, Schroders, European Banking Federation, Office of Environment (Liechtenstein), CDP, Environment Agency Austria, Environment Agency Austria, Belgian Financial Sector Federation, Sustainable Finance Committee to the German government.

As a reminder, animal welfare indicators are not listed at all in this law project whereas the EU «From Farm to Fork » Strategy underlines to what extent it is urgent to address the issue of animal welfare for the environment and the society.

Vegan Finance’s action has proposed in August 2020 a list of mandatory indicators and metrics that include the following themes:

  • Improvement of animal welfare (free-cage, testing,…)
  • Reduction of pesticides
  • Reduction of intensive agriculture
  • Reduction of fish farming
  • Reduction of all forms of fossil energies (liquid, gaseous, and solid)
  • Reduction of nuclear energies
  • Technical details to avoid greenwashing practices
  • Biodiversty protection
  • Plant-based products
  • Alternatives to animal testing
  • Innovations in animal-welfare

Our detailed response to the EU is here and now on their website. Please feel free to contact us at info@veganfinance.org if you have any question.

September 21st, 2020: Animal rights, animal-welfare and environmental progess cannot exist without good governance, which is a prerequisite. That is why, it is important to underline the “FinCEN files” scandal: the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has revealed that during 20 years, from 1997 to 2017, major banks have let ciculated not less than USD 2,100 billions, the origin of which is not identified and suspicious, and would come from: money laundering and criminal activities (terrorism, drug and weapons traffficking, corruption, etc.).

The major banks involved in this money laundering scandal are by order of importance: Deutsche bank, JP Morgan, Standard Chartered, Bank of New York Mellon, Barclays, Société Générale, HSBC, State Street Corporation, Commerzbank AG, China Investment Corporation.

Source: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (link here)
  • This ICIJ page shows some of the clients and through which banks the money transitted.
  • BuzzfeedNews, which has participated in this investigation, has published several articles on this issue here.

September 21st, 2020: Environmental impact has to be targetted where it is effective the most. Consider that “the richest one percent of the world’s population are responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the 3.1 billion people who made up the poorest half of humanity during a critical 25-year period of unprecedented emissions growth”, according to OXFAM report.

In addition, the NPO suggest that : “Governments can tackle both extreme inequality and the climate crisis if they target the excessive emissions of the richest and invest in poor and vulnerable communities. For example, a recent study found that the richest 10 percent of households use almost half (45 percent) of all the energy linked to land transport and three quarters of all energy linked to aviation. Transportation accounts for around a quarter of global emissions today, while SUVs were the second biggest driver of global carbon emissions growth between 2010 and 2018″.

Note:

The poorest 50 percent of humanity comprised approximately 3.1 billion people on average between 1990 and 2015, the richest 10 percent comprised approx. 630 million people, the richest 5 percent approx. 315 million people, and the richest one percent approximately 63 million people.

In 2015, around half the emissions of the richest 10 percent – people with net income over $38,000 – are linked to citizens in the US and the EU and around a fifth with citizens of China and India. Over a third of the emissions of the richest one percent – people with net income over $109,000 – are linked to citizens in the US, with the next biggest contributions from citizens of the Middle East and China.

September 18th, 2020: For BP, the oil decline has already started. In its report on energy outlook, the major considers three transition scenarios to a greener energy by 2050, where gas and renewables will have higher shares.

Source: BP Energy Outlook 2020 Edition

September 15th, 2020: the United Nations warns on the unprecedent loss of biodiversity since the last 10 years :

  • food and agricultural production remains among the main drivers of global biodiversity loss
  • “funding for actions linked to biodiversity has been estimated at between $78 – $91 billion per year, way below the hundreds of billions needed” vs. “the amount of money spent on activities that are harmful to biodiversity, including some $500 billion for fossil fuels, and other subsidies that cause environmental degradation”. Note : Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2011 has made a report on harmful subsidies, among wich are mentionned subsidies for fertilizers, pesticides, and trawling in fishing. The root causes of the harmful aspects of these subsidies are under-pricing the use of natural resources and incentives to increase production in environmentally sensitive sectors e.g. agriculture, fisheries, energy production, transport and heavy industry.
  • UN calls for a wake-up and highlights links between ‘unprecedented biodiversity loss’ and spread of disease.
  • Only 6 goals out of 20 have been partially achieved since 2010.

The fifth edition of the UN’s Global Biodiversity Outlook report can be found at this page.

September 21st, 2020: Global warming alert ! “Arctic sea ice decline stalls out at second lowest minimum” according to the US National Snow and Ice Data center (NSIDC). The full report is here.

Source: US NSIDC
Source: NSIDC

September 9th, 2020: the trade agreement between the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (the Mercosur bloc) fails on sustainability test according a report published on One Earth made by the Oxford university and an international group of researchers.

Source: One Earth

Link to the full report here.

On the same subject, France could reject the Mercosur agreement: the increase of 2 to 3% in beef production which would result from a greater opening of the markets of the two continents should lead, by mobilizing additional pastures, to an acceleration of annual deforestation by 5% during the six years following the application of the agreement. By multiplying CO2 emissions, this deforestation makes the environmental cost of the agreement too high in relation to its economic benefits (link to the article).

September 2nd, 2020: Publication of the 2020 ranking of the top most popular vegan countries in the word, based on Google trends. It is interesting to note that more traditionally meat and dairy loving countries are turning vegan as New-Zealand, Australia or Ireland.

On the same subject, the US Department of Agriculture sensitive but unclassified” report on “Germany is leading Vegan Revolution in Europe“can be found here.

May 18th, 2020: article “Ratings from a vegan perspective” by Asset News (AGEFI) at this link or you can find here a pdf version of this article.

Year 2018

January 29th, 2018: Vegan Finance response to Public Consultation of the SASB on their standards. We have communicated:

  • Arguments to include Animal-welfare topic
  • Proposal of animal-related metrics

All public Comments on the Exposure Draft Standards are here.