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Your Week in GRC for 14 November 2022: ISSB to align with EU standards on ESG in coming weeks

ISSB to align with EU standards on ESG in coming weeks

Emmanuel Faber, chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), said he was hopeful of reaching in the coming weeks a ‘big milestone’ toward aligning the EU’s corporate disclosures with his board’s global norms, Reuters reported. Despite nearing agreement over how the work of the ISSB will align with a similar set of EU rules being finalized, differences have persisted over what should be counted when assessing a company. The ISSB is looking to define a global baseline for such disclosures and make as many countries as possible adopt it, and Faber said the issue remained difficult.

The EU is finalizing disclosure rules for 50,000 companies in the 27-country bloc to report on ESG factors, as well as a company’s impact on the environment, known as double-materiality. Global regulators have urged the EU and ISSB to make their climate disclosures interoperable to avoid competing norms confusing cross-border investors.

EU countries signal willingness to exclude finance executives accountable to ESG standards on child labour and slavery

Reuters reported that an EU draft law forcing large companies to check whether their suppliers use slave or child labour is facing calls from several member states to shield or even fully exclude the financial services industry. The European Commission in February proposed the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence directive, which would also require boards of EU-based companies to ensure their business model and strategy align with targets limiting global warning.

The governments of Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany have indicated they want to exclude asset managers and institutional investors from the law, with France and Italy going further and calling for the entire financial sector to be left out, an EU diplomat familiar with the negotiations said.

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UK companies have appalling shortfall of women in executive roles

The Financial Times (paywall) reported that according to a report from Cranfield University and EY, UK companies have an ‘appalling’ shortfall of women in executive roles. The annual survey of the UK’s FTSE 350 raises new concerns that companies are not doing enough to bring through women in management positions despite reaching targets for women directors on boards.

The number of women on FTSE-listed boards has risen this year to almost 40 percent but nine in 10 were in non-executive positions, suggesting the increase has been driven by the appointment of women to such roles to comply with targets. The survey found that only about 17 percent of executives in the FTSE 100 are women – much lower than the 40 percent figure for boards. This falls to 12 percent among smaller companies on the FTSE 250, where for the third year running only 47 women hold executive directorships.

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