BlackRock’ the world’s largest asset manager, is pushing for the industry to overhaul environmental, social and governance investments and standardize a globally recognized framework to establish criteria for sustainable investing.
As more money managers come out with new ESG investment strategies to meet growing demand, a hodgepodge of varying private reporting frameworks and standards on sustainability have popped up, the Financial Times reports.
However, BlackRock warned that the current “proliferation of disclosure initiatives, many of which are overlapping, has led to duplicative efforts by reporters and a lack of consistent and comparable data.”
“Investors and other stakeholders need a clearer picture of how companies are managing sustainability today and planning for the future,” BlackRock added. “We believe that this could be resolved by aligning and converging to establish a globally recognized sustainability reporting framework and set of standards.”
Critics have pointed out that asset managers have not provided clients with sufficient reporting on issues such as climate risks. Big investors also warned that existing data on sustainability issues are bad quality or inconsistent, which increases the difficulty of comparisons between companies.
Nevertheless, there has been some headway in the global effort to come together. For example, the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, a non-profit that sets accountancy rules, proposed to establish a sustainability standards board and work with the existing initiatives. Five sustainability organizations, including the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, the Global Reporting Initiative, the International Integrated Reporting Council, the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), and the Carbon Disclosure Standards Board plan to work together to develop a global reporting system. Additionally, the Big Four accountancy firms recently revealed their own ESG reporting framework.
“We see the approach proposed by the IFRS Foundation as the most practicable and likely to succeed,” BlackRock said. “We believe a combination of the best ideas would minimise the reporting burden on companies and achieve the optimal results for users of company reporting on sustainability.”
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