plate By NZFSPA

Credit rating agencies, stock exchanges, index providers and auditors fill the gap for net zero in the financial sector with new alliance that will help put climate at the heart of every professional financial decision.

  • The world’s two largest credit rating agencies, six major audit networks, three leading index providers, and two global stock exchanges are among eighteen leading organisations[1] today launching the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance, uniting investment advisors, credit rating agencies, auditors, exchanges, index providers, ESG research and data providers, and proxy research providers.  
  • The Net Zero Financial Service Providers alliance joins the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, the UN-backed group for financial institutions to make credible net zero commitments through the UN’s Race to Zero.
  • As members of the new alliance, these organisations are committing to aligning all relevant products and services to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest and to set meaningful interim targets for 2025 within 12-months of joining.[2] These commitments are in addition to the organisations setting Science Based Targets to reduce their operational emissions in line with limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C.
  • This is a major step in mobilising the flow of capital committed to supporting the transition to a net zero economy, by helping to ensure that asset managers, banks and financial institutions have the data, information and products needed to achieve their own net zero goals.

Today marks the launch of the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance (NZFSPA).  

As members of the NZFSPA, these organisations have committed to aligning all their relevant services and products to improve consistency in financial decision-making with achieving a net zero economy by 2050, at the latest. Alliance members will set Science Based Targets for their own emissions and have committed to report on their progress, including publishing disclosures aligned with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. The Principles of Responsible Investing, the UN-supported network of investors, will advise the alliance and help coordinate with net zero asset owners and asset managers.

The newly launched alliance joins the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), part of the UN Race to Zero campaign. GFANZ now includes well over 250 financial firms responsible for assets in excess of $88 trillion committed to align capital with net zero.

The launch seeks to enhance and accelerate the efforts of asset managers, banks, and other financial institutions in the Race to Zero to allocate capital in line with net zero.  

Filling the gap for net zero in the financial sector

To reach net zero emissions, all parts of the financial system will need to align their activities with a science-based net zero transition path. Many banks, insurance companies, asset managers and owners have already committed to the goal by joining GFANZ and aligning their collective tens of trillions of dollars of investments, lending, and underwriting to net zero.

But achieving a net zero financial system will require the critical services and products that support how financial decisions get made to also be aligned with net zero. The data, products and services of financial service providers are among the critical components informing the flow of capital. Today’s announcement marks a significant step forward in supporting the transition of the global economy to net zero.

For example, for index providers, the commitment will mean providing net zero aligned indices by default for all main markets, which will make it easier for investors to choose to anchor their investments to the net zero transition.

Setting interim targets within 12 months, progressively increasing alignment with net zero

All member organisations have committed to setting meaningful targets to 2025 within 12 months which are pertinent to each subsector. The target should reflect the way in which the action taken will help to reach the UNFCC interim target of a fair share of the 50% global reduction in carbon emissions needed by 2030.

Such targets will be reviewed and updated at least every five years with a view to increasing the proportion of services and products to achieve full alignment.

Explaining the significance of the launch: 

Mark Carney, the UK Prime Minister’s Finance Adviser for COP26, said: “The new Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance will be critical to helping the financial sector achieve net zero. By joining the alliance and GFANZ, these firms are committing to ensuring their products and services support a high ambition, credible net zero transition that we need to achieve our 1.5 degree goal.”

Alok Sharma, the COP26 President-Designate, said: “Helping to mobilise the finance needed to accelerate the transition to net zero by mid-century is crucial to save our planet from the worst effects of catastrophic climate change. These new commitments from major financial services providers show great climate leadership towards helping us to net zero.”

Nigel Topping, the UN High Level Climate Champion for COP26 said: “Financial services providers can help turn the trillions of dollars of capital already committed to net zero into the real and tangible investments we need. I welcome the ambition of this alliance in going beyond reaching net zero in their own operations to help turn ambition into action.”

Fiona Reynolds, CEO at the Principles for Responsible Investment, said: “We welcome today’s announcement on the formation of the new Net Zero Service Providers initiative. It has never been more vital for net zero considerations to be built in at every stage of the investment process. The resources made available by signatories to the initiative will enable strong implementation, helping investors move from commitment to action on net zero by setting clear and practical targets to enact meaningful change.”

Commenting on the significance of the commitment:

David Schwimmer, CEO of London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), said:“Financial markets are central to the world achieving net zero emissions. A new financial service provider’s alliance recognises the pivotal role market infrastructure providers such as LSEG have in mobilising the trillions needed to transition to a net zero world and support the growth of new green industries.”

Mr LOH Boon Chye, CEO of Singapore Exchange (SGX), said: “Sustainability in Asia is steadily gaining momentum. As the world’s engine of growth, how the Asia region takes on climate action collectively could make or break success. Through GFANZ, Singapore Exchange looks forward to providing leadership and voice for Asia’s climate transition needs whilst putting into context the region’s other specific environmental and social objectives.”

Rob Fauber, President and Chief Executive Officer of Moody’s Corporation said: “Climate change is the world’s greatest risk multiplier and a profound challenge for economies and communities alike. The entire financial industry must take on the shared challenge of enabling an urgent shift to a resilient and sustainable economy. Aligning products and services with net-zero by 2050 will improve decision-making and accelerate the flow of capital to the transition. We are delighted to join the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance as our latest step to empower organizations to make more sustainable decisions.”

Doug Peterson, CEO of S&P Global, said:“The global economic transition to net zero will be realized through a truly collaborative and aligned approach. I am delighted that S&P Global is joining the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance, part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero to support our common goal of a resilient and sustainable future. More than ever, investors and companies seek evidence-based insights, high quality data and advanced analytics to explain the relationship between sustainability and business performance. For over a hundred years, S&P Global has powered the markets through its insights, data, benchmarks, indices and wider products and we are proud to be using this experience and expertise to inform the global market transition.”

Bob Moritz, Chairman of the PwC International Network said:Climate change is a defining issue for our new strategy, The New Equation. By committing to support the evolution of robust climate-related disclosures, we can help build trust in information and make it easier for stakeholders to take the decisions needed to deliver sustained outcomes that meet the needs of our planet and society. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero is an important step on that journey and we look forward to working with companies, standard setters and others in the financial services ecosystem to help deliver a Net Zero future”.

Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO said:“Deloitte recognizes that climate change poses a risk to financial stability and impacts businesses in every sector. Investors are clear that they expect companies to account for and disclose climate-related risks in annual reports and financial statements. As auditors, we recognize our role and will continue working with professional bodies, regulators, standard setters, and audited entities, to evolve corporate reporting standards and enhance confidence in the information provided to markets.  We are looking forward to working with the other service-provider organizations in our commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 where all parts of the corporate reporting ecosystem need to align.”

Henry Fernandez, Chairman and CEO of MSCI, said:“Reaching net zero emissions will require the largest economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution. We cannot get there without a strong commitment from financial service providers. MSCI is honored to be a founding member of the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance and proud to be doing our part. This alliance will help accelerate the decarbonization of investment and loan portfolios while fueling the innovation needed to create a more sustainable energy mix.”

Kunal Kapoor, CEO of Morningstar, said: “Offering investors of all types transparent data, independent research, and clear ratings that help them understand sustainability and the material risks and opportunities it brings for the long term is central to empowering investors’ success and impact. By uniting as an industry to highlight ESG risks across the investment landscape, we will speed opportunities for sustainability to continue driving innovation and spur the progress we all want to see toward a net zero world.”

Steffen Scheuble, CEO of Solactive, said: Achieving the Paris climate goals is one of the most challenging and important tasks of our time. We have to act now to limit the severe impact of climate change which is observable around the globe already. At Solactive, we take our responsibility as a founding member of NZFSPAseriously and are committed to helping our clients achieve their Net Zero goals with credible climate index solutions, while at the same time contributing positively to the achievement of Net Zero through responsible business practices.”

Sarah Wilson, CEO of Minerva Analytics, said: “Sustainable stewardship is at the core of Minerva’s purpose, and so joining the Net Zero Service Providers Alliance is extremely important to us. As part of the collective effort needed to achieve the world’s ambitions for a safer, more sustainable world, our mission is to help our clients successfully manage their transition to a low-carbon economy. We are therefore proud to play our part in making the Net Zero vision a reality.”

Andrew Sealey, CEO of Campbell Lutyens & Co., said: “We are very proud to be the first placement agent to join the UN Net Zero Service Providers Alliance and to be a founding member of this group. As we have for the past 10+ years, we believe we can continue to play a material role in the global path to net zero; through raising sustainability funds (environmental funds, renewable funds, impact funds etc) that facilitate a 1.5 degree world; through our advice to our clients; and through global partnerships. We play an important role in the ecosystem of private capital to help ensure capital flows into the right places in order to fight climate change.”

Bill Thomas, Chairman & CEO, KPMG International, said: “Scaling the rapid change we need to achieve a net zero world is our biggest obstacle in securing a sustainable future. Supporting innovation in new financial products and fueling our capital markets with transparent, comparable information is a critical step. It frees necessary capital to empower the change we need across all sectors of society. KPMG is proud to be part of this critical endeavor and will work together with all members of the Net Zero Finance Service Providers Alliance to galvanize this financial movement.”

The impact of the Commitment on products and services

Aligning products and services with net zero will help accelerate the transition to a net zero financial system.

 CommitmentWhy it matters
Investment Adviser Make net zero the norm for investment decisions: this could include ensuring that advice includes net-zero aligned options and that that net zero considerations are drawn out in advice.   Create or advocate for new products and solutions. Will be able to hold asset managers and their products accountable on net zero.
Stock/ Securities Exchange Requiring (or promoting as appropriate) companies to disclose their alignment with net zero, and to disclose other necessary data for the market to make investment decisions.   Consider listing interventions or requirements and issuer tools/support to encourage companies towards net zero. Promotes accurate and useful disclosure of climate-related information.
Index Provider Providing net zero aligned indices by default for all main markets. Most indices used by investors today are not aligned to net zero, meaning that the flow of capital continues to flow to investments incompatible with net zero. This will make it easier for investors to choose to anchor their investments to the net zero transition.
ESG Research rating and data Reflecting net zero alignment in the evaluation of relevant end products. Providing a clear indication of data, assessment and rating of net zero aligned companies, securities and governments, applying consistent methodologies. Encourages the provision of green solutions by the market by allowing investors to better understand what is aligned with net zero.    
Proxy research and advice providers Taking into account credible emissions reduction pathways to net zero, and reflecting this in their evaluations and recommendations to clients.  Makes it easier for investors to use their votes to hold companies accountable for their net zero plans and actions, and to encourage greater action.
Auditor Take companies’ net zero commitments and strategies into account when auditing the material judgements and related disclosures underpinning the financial statements to which the auditor’s opinion relates, as required by professional standards. Promotes understanding by investors of whether a company’s accounts, and the assumptions contained within, are consistent with their published net zero commitments and strategies, to the extent material.
Credit Rating Agency Consider net zero alignment when assessing the credit risk of entities and obligations to the extent relevant to the applicable credit rating methodologies. Enable investors to evaluate and understand how net zero alignment may impact the credit risk of borrowers.

Notes to editors

1. The full text for the Commitment to the Net Zero Financial Services Providers Alliance can be found here, including the supplemental text that provides interpretative guidance.

2. One part of the Commitment is to “Align all relevant services and products to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, scaling and mainstreaming Paris Agreement-alignment into the core of our business.”

The specific commitment items by Financial Service Providers are:

Service ProviderCommitment
Rating Agency Refers to the incorporation of net zero principles to the extent relevant and/ or applicable
Stock / Securities Exchange Refers, to the extent relevant and appropriate, to disclosure, market participation and/ or listing interventions or requirements and issuer tools and support.
Index Provider Refers to the maintenance of existing and addition of new net zero aligned broad based indices
ESG Research, sustainable rating and data providers and proxy research providers Clear indication of incorporating net zero implications in research, rating and data provision
Investment Adviser Net zero aligned investment provision offered systemically to asset owners
Auditor Plan and perform audits in accordance with professional standards and related guidance issued by standard setters, including as they relate to climate-related matters, and commit to discharging obligations under professional standards as external auditors with quality, integrity, and independence.