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Industry roundup: 14 August

Bloomberg launches proprietary ESG scores

Bloomberg has announced the launch of propriety ESG scores. This initial offering includes Environmental and Social (ES) scores for 252 companies in the oil and gas sector, and board composition scores for more than 4,300 companies across multiple industries.

“ESG data is critical to the investment process," said Patricia Torres, global head of Bloomberg Sustainable Finance Solutions. "We see an opportunity to provide transparent and complete scoring methodologies along with the underlying data in order to support investment and finance professionals make informed decisions. By providing transparent ESG data and scores, we are helping investors decode raw data that is otherwise hard to compare across companies. For corporates, these scores offer a valuable, quantitative and normalised benchmark that will easily highlight their ESG performance.”

The ES scores will begin with the oil and gas sector as there is typically stronger disclosure data from these companies, which account for more than half of carbon dioxide emissions related to fuel combustion and generate 15% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, according to the IEA. The governance scores will start with board composition as there has been increased scrutiny on the role of corporate boards in providing proper leadership and oversight over long term strategic performance. The board composition scores enable investors to assess how well a board is positioned to provide diverse perspectives and supervision of management, as well as to assess potential risks in the current board structure. The quantitative model is designed by Bloomberg governance specialists and uses Bloomberg’s management and board level data. The scores rank the relative performance of companies across four focus areas of diversity, tenure, overboarding and independence.

The ES scores provide a data-driven measure of corporate environmental and social performance that investors can use to quickly evaluate performance across a range of financially material, business-relevant and industry-specific key issues, such as climate change and health and safety, and assess company activities relative to industry peers. Bloomberg’s proprietary quant model is informed by sustainability and industry frameworks, research and analysis to reduce noise, normalise data, address size bias, and disclosure gaps. Bloomberg says its ESG scores are fully transparent, and investors can examine both the scoring methodology and the company reported data underlying each score.

 

Ascendant introduces payment tracking through SWIFT gpi

AscendantFX Capital has announced that it has become a member of the SWIFT network, and more specifically the Global Payment Initiative (gpi). Ascendant will leverage SWIFT gpi to further enhance its customer platform aPay and its API capabilities, improve payment delivery, and provide greater transparency for customers.

SWIFT gpi provides end-to-end transparency on fees related to both deductions and exchange rates. This includes the final amount paid to the end beneficiary and the transmission of full and unaltered remittance information, which eases the reconciliation of payments. Ascendant also expects to see a significant reduction in the number of payment investigations and time taken to resolve these investigations.

Tracking payments like a parcel has been a long-standing request from Ascendant’s customers and partner-led innovation groups. To take it a step further, Ascendant is making this data accessible to customers within their online platform, aPay, as well as through their API solution, aPay Link. 

 

Palette announces AP automation solution for engineering and construction

Palette Software has announced a cloud-based accounts payable (AP) automation solution for engineering and construction companies. The global SaaS firm's solution is designed to give engineering and construction companies the ability to capture supplier invoice data quickly, process invoices with an automated approval workflow, and have a time-stamped audit trail with a searchable invoice archive.

Automating the AP function can offer a variety of benefits. The finance administrator's workload is reduced because there is no need for manual signatures, paper files are eliminated, and invoice information is searchable. The administrator can be confident that invoice approvals go to the right project manager because the approval workflow is programmed right into the system. Exceptions are handled through the system, giving administrators and approvers a faster way to resolve issues. Additionally, administrators can give auditors limited access to the search system so that auditors can view any invoices, project, or time period. For project managers, it is easy to find items on previous invoices to see what they paid in the past and price compare. Project managers can find specific projects by their names rather than by GL account code numbers.

Palette has built-in communication so each and every invoice is trackable. Project managers can see each invoice and approvals can be made on desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone at any time. This feature is designed to reduce back-and-forth emails and missed payments. Central to automating finance for construction and engineering is the elimination of paper processes and lengthy approval cycles.

The Palette capture solution automates the process of capturing both emailed and paper invoices construction companies receive for their projects, making all the invoice data available in a dashboard. That eliminates manual keying of invoice data into the accounting system. Palette has international and US bank security standards in place for cloud solutions.

 

Morgan Stanley launches sustainable solutions accelerator 

Morgan Stanley has announced the launch of its Sustainable Solutions Accelerator, a strategic initiative to identify breakthrough innovations focused on systemic change for sustainability. The Initiative will have three major elements: a new Sustainable Solutions Innovation Award; a year-long intensive partnership with Morgan Stanley; and an ongoing Sustainable Solutions Collaborative that will provide an ongoing forum for cross-sector collaboration to drive sustainable solutions at scale.

In its first year, the Sustainable Solutions Accelerator will select five breakthrough innovations that are tackling major global sustainability challenges. Those selected will each receive a US$250,000 Sustainable Solutions Innovation Award to develop and help scale the solution.

Innovators will also participate in a year-long, strategic partnership with experts at the Institute for Sustainable Investing where they will have access to the full range of Morgan Stanley’s expertise, networks and innovative solutions to help them achieve scale and sustained impact. After the initial year, the innovators will become part of the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Solutions Collaborative, a group of leaders focused on helping solve some of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges. 

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