ESG engagement and XL AUM growth

1 minute read

The plans for the Keystone XL tar sand pipeline have finally been stopped. From a business perspective, those who investors who engaged have some ESG victory laps to run.

As highlighted in our earlier research, it will be interesting to see if/what engagement Vanguard, NBIM, PFA pension and the ECB did on this. We have earlier argued that some of the big lenders concerned - Vanguard, NBIM, PFA Pension and ECB’s collateral desk - should indeed have engaged with key oil sand proponents around this.

Depending on what these parties decided to do, one of two different claims can now be made, either (1) they actively engaged with key lenders to stop Keystone XL plans with the eventual outcome that the project stopped; or (2) they actively chose to not engage on Keystone XL and continued to lend unconditionally, but despite this, the project ceased.

In general, our opinion is that Vanguard is entirely business driven but have so far not realised the business upside with bond engagement. PFA Pension was recently caught out with severe greenwashing in their fixed income books, so our capacity to credit them for having moved slightly remains limited.

On ECB, we do not think the ECB collateral-taking desk is aware of the climate implications of some of the bonds in this context.