Unregulated ‘greenwashing’? ESG investing is under the microscope as the money rolls in

  • The coronavirus pandemic has shone yet more light on how investors allocate their money and how company operations influence our societies.
  • But there are questions about whether ESG is really effective in improving and supporting our communities. 
  • A portfolio manager told CNBC that companies can “hide” their actual carbon footprint by outsourcing parts of their production process.

Is sustainable investing just a marketing ploy?

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LONDON — There’s growing appetite to invest in a more sustainable way, but experts warn that transparency is needed in this space if it’s to really do any good for the planet.

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ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) describes investments made with an aim to contribute to a better environment, society or workplace and it’s becoming increasingly popular. The share of global investors that have applied ESG criteria to at least a quarter of their total investments has jumped

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Dollar Holds Gains on Safety Bid as Uncertainty Grows on Several Fronts | Investing News

TOKYO (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar held onto gains against most currencies on Wednesday as renewed questions about a coronavirus vaccine and lack of an agreement on additional U.S. fiscal stimulus prompted a shift to safer assets.

During the Asian session, the yuan will be in focus as traders watch to see whether Chinese officials’ efforts to slow the currency’s rise continue to have an impact.

The euro and British pound are likely to extend declines, analysts said, as a return of restrictions on economic activity in Europe and Britain to battle a second wave of coronavirus infections unnerves investors.

Moves are likely to be subdued as the U.S. presidential election looms on Nov. 3, but analysts said sentiment is leaning against riskier bets, which should support the dollar in the coming days.

“Many factors are pointing to more upside for the dollar,” said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief currency strategist at

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Nissan’s U.S. Lending Arm to Pay $4 Million Fine Over Improper Repossessions | Investing News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co’s U.S. lending arm agreed on Tuesday to pay a $4 million U.S. fine to settle a government agency’s allegation that it improperly repossessed hundreds of consumers’ vehicles.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said that between 2013 and 2019, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp (NMAC), a subsidiary of the Japanese automaker’s North American unit, “wrongfully repossessed hundreds of consumers’ vehicles despite the consumer having made payments” or taken other actions. Nissan must pay up to $1 million to consumers subject to a wrongful repossession.

NMAC said it denied wrongdoing but agreed to settle and takes the agency’s “assertions seriously and share their commitment to fair practices for all our customers.”

NMAC repossessed vehicles from consumers who made payments that decreased delinquency to less than 60 days past due or took other steps that should have prevented repossessions, the bureau said, adding NMAC told consumers it

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Business Insider’s best investing stories of the week ended October 13

Dear Readers,

If you’ve noticed more pronounced price swings in the market lately, that’s not just your mind playing tricks on you. After years upon years of relaxed trading, stocks have been jolted out of their slumber.

The volatility is a natural byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic and everything associated with it: a record-shattering economic pullback and sharp recovery, emergency central bank actions, the race for a working vaccine, and assorted political machinations befitting an election year — most notably talks around a new stimulus package.

Complicating matters further is that each of the four factors listed above is capable of moving the market on a given day. That’s why the Investing team at Business Insider has been on the hunt for guidance from the world’s top experts.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber to Insider Investing, you can sign up here.

At the forefront of our research has been

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German Prosecutors Drop Money-Laundering Probe Against Deutsche Bank Managers | Investing News

BERLIN (Reuters) – German prosecutors said on Tuesday they were dropping a money-laundering investigation against managers at Deutsche Bank

, over its relations with Danske Bank’s

Estonian subsidiary, citing a lack of evidence.

The economic crimes unit at the Frankfurt Prosecutor’s Office also fined Deutsche Bank 13.5 million euros ($15.9 million) for being slow to report suspected money laundering in more than 600 cases.

The case related to a whistleblower’s claims that Danske had handled 200 billion euros in suspicious payments from Russia and other ex-Soviet republics between 2007 and 2015 – the bulk of which were processed by Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank, which broke off its relationship with Danske in 2015, has consistently denied wrongdoing.

“With the end to proceedings, it is clear that there were no criminal lapses on the part of Deutsche Bank or its staff,” board member Stefan Simon said in a statement.

The fine relates

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Bored With Your Flat Pack Furniture? – IKEA Will Buy It Back | Investing News

LONDON (Reuters) – People tired of their flat pack IKEA dressers, drawers, cabinets and tables will now be able to sell them back to the furniture retailer for resale in its stores as secondhand.

The world’s biggest furniture group, said on Tuesday the “Buy Back” initiative was part of its aim to become “a fully circular and climate positive business by 2030.”

Under the scheme, which runs in 27 countries from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3, customers will get vouchers to spend at IKEA stores, the value of which depends on the condition of the furniture they are selling back.

Customers with “as new” items, with no scratches, will get 50% of the original price, “very good” items, with minor scratches, will get 40% and “well used”, with several scratches, will get 30%.

One possible catch for customers from the scheme is that products must be returned “fully assembled.”

IKEA

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U.S. Small Business Confidence at Highest Since February | Investing News

Reuters

FILE PHOTO: A “We’re Hiring” sign advertising jobs is seen at the entrance of a restaurant, as Miami-Dade County eases some of the lockdown measures put in place during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Marco BelloReuters

(Reuters) – U.S. small business confidence rose last month to its highest since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year with more firms experiencing an uptick in foot traffic and sales, according to a monthly survey released on Tuesday.

The National Federation of Independent Business Optimism Index rose 3.8 points to a reading of 104 in September, the highest level since February. After crashing to a seven-year low in April, the index has rebounded sharply as restrictions imposed on businesses and consumers to contain the spread of COVID-19 have continued easing.

Nine of the index’s 10 components showed improvement, led by a 13 point

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Maersk to Lay off 2,000 in Business Shake-Up, Lifts Outlook on Improving Demand | Investing News

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The world’s biggest container shipping line, Maersk

, said on Tuesday demand was recovering faster than expected and lifted its earnings outlook, while also announcing plans to cut 2,000 jobs as it streamlines to cut costs.

Maersk, which handles about one in five containers shipped worldwide, said that though cargo volumes were still down on last year they had picked up more than forecast after falling sharply at the height of the coronavirus pandemic a few months ago.

“A.P. Moller – Maersk is on track to deliver a strong Q3 with solid earnings growth across all our businesses, in particular in Ocean and Logistics & Services,” Chief Executive Soren Skou said in a statement.

“Volumes have rebounded faster than expected, our costs have remained well under control, freight rates have increased due to strong demand,” Skou said.

Volumes in Maersk’s Ocean-division declined by around 3% in the

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China Auto Sales Jump 13% in ‘Golden September’ as Shoppers Return to Showrooms | Investing News

By Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh

BEIJING (Reuters) – Automobile sales in China rose 12.8% in September from the same month a year earlier, marking the sixth consecutive month of gain, as the world’s biggest vehicle market comes off lows hit during the coronavirus lockdown.

Sales reached 2.57 million vehicles last month, showed data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Sales are still down 6.9% for the first nine months of the year at 17.12 million vehicles, CAAM said.

Auto insiders refer to “Golden September, Silver October” as they regard the months as the high season for China sales, with drivers venturing out to make purchases having stayed away during the stifling summer months.

Reflecting that trend, sales of passenger vehicles rose 8% in September. Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd <0175.HK>, Great Wall Motor Co Ltd <601633.SS> and Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> booked double-digit growth.

The Beijing auto show,

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German Economy May Return to Pre-Crisis Levels in Early 2022: Finance Minister | Investing News

BERLIN (Reuters) – The latest economic data provide hope that Germany’s economy can return to pre-crisis levels in early 2022, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday.

Germany’s rising level of government debt is not a problem because the country can tackle the situation with “good growth”, Scholz told TV station CNBC in an interview.

Scholz rejected concerns that state aid was artificially keeping alive companies that were in financial troubles in the wake of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany’s government has taken steps such as allowing firms to delay bankruptcy filings until the end of the year, extended from an original deadline of end-September.

Helped by these measures, the number of firms declaring insolvency in Germany fell 6% in the first half of 2020 compared with the year-earlier period.

Critics say suspending insolvencies delays but does not prevent the collapse of “zombie companies” that are artificially

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