Breckinridge Capital Advisors secured the 'Best sustainability reporting by an asset or fund manager, large (fixed income)' award for the second year in a row, as the $44 billion fixed income-focused asset manager widened its engagement activities during 2022.
The 2022 ESG Issuer Engagement Report focused on engagement around sea level rises, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and low- and net zero-carbon transition plans. Nonetheless, Breckinridge ESG research director Rob Fernandez told Environmental Finance engagement has moved beyond climate risk.
"While climate risks continue to be relevant and top of mind for investors and issuers, this year we expanded the focus of our engagement efforts to explore a wider range of ESG risks with security issuers," he said. "We believe these and many other factors within ESG's broad purview are material risks [for issuers]."
Among the wider range of engagement topics reported upon included risks associated with data privacy, water consumption, financial inclusion, and cybersecurity.
Alongside the expanded issuer engagement report, Fernandez said Breckinridge also "enhanced" its client reporting for sustainable municipal bond portfolios in 2022.
"The new client reports should improve transparency and clarity about holdings for investors with regard to certain material ESG factors," he said. "The new report presents aggregate data about the intended use of proceeds for bonds in the portfolio or composite and offers a profile of the portfolio's bonds compared to the benchmark."
Nonetheless, Fernandez emphasised that the lack of "consistency and standardisation" of ESG reporting remains a challenge. As a result, the asset manager said it continues to support ESG data standardisation initiatives – including the Value Reporting Foundation (VRF), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).