sustainAX in the press - ESG thought leadership

We are at times asked for editorial content on ESG and Sustainability as a result of our specialisation in the areas and our active tought leadership

The simple world of narratives
Kapital - ESG narratives and EU sustainability reporting - Front

2023 09 – Kapital ESG and Sustainability special edition

Kapital - ESG narratives and EU sustainability reporting

Can today’s sustainability reporting withstand the light of tomorrow?

As ESG analysts, we use the companies’ sustainability reports as an important part of the material for our risk analyses. We have a fairly good overview of how things are, especially among private companies and smaller companies, which is our niche at sustainAX. And there is much that remains before this group reaches the requirements that the EU, through its sustainability directive (CSRD), will set in the coming years. Yes, the companies have some time on their hands, but we know what it’s like on Christmas Eve.

Currently, we see a lot of text that talks about good initiatives – the amount of text only increases every year. But it can be difficult to judge the real value of the stories, if they are not supported by measurable key figures (KPIs). The EU requires both explanations and KPIs, so companies should focus on what is essential and not drown stakeholders with insignificant anecdotes.

However, not everyone is equally successful with this. Today. Below are some examples.

More in the article…

Link to the article in Kapital: soon

It was not that sustainable after all

2023 02 – Kapital ESG and Sustainability special edition


New rules in place in Europe (#SFDR RTS) with a large room for interpretation and lacking guidance of how Sustainable Investments should be defined, a European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) Call for evidence for #greenwashing and a general lack of sustainability competence in the asset management industry lead to lowering sustainability ambitions for many funds and important AUM.

SFDR RTS (Level 2) will be implemented later in Norway (likely this year), and we are worried for smaller asset managers based on what we now see on websites and in pre contractual documents (prospectus). Will we see the same trend here with lowered sustainability ambitions ahead of the implementation?

The ESG data hunt is frenetic and many now realise also they need specific data to answer different regulatory requirements. More about this specific point here:

All in all the SFDR has succeeded in heightening the bar for claiming a fund is doing Sustainable Investments. Well done!

Link to the article in Kapital:

Misuse of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 

2022 09 – Kapital ESG and Sustainability special edition


As asset managers are looking to prove that their investments are sustainable, the first choice in the EU is the EU Taxonomy for environmentally sustainable activities, thereafter many rely on contributions to UN SDGs. This information can come from the investee companies to the investors can work this out themselves.

With regards to the communication from the investee companies we as ESG analysts at sustainAX, see a lot of misuse and misunderstandings when it comes to UN SDGs. We research and score the quality of the SDG communication of the companies we ESG research (not part of the ESG risk research).

We have written about this in todays ESG/Sustainability Special Edition of Kapital(behind paywall for the moment):

We have also written about this earlier, with a focus on how the companies should do this properly according to the UN Global Compact:

Do you agree?

Forced to rethink sustainability in communication

2022 04 – Kapital ESG and Sustainability special edition


ESG risk integration is not an option, but a fiduciary duty if you have promised your clients to maximise risk adjusted returns. ESG risk integration is not to stare an ESG score, there is a job to be done. The portfolio manager should read the fundamental ESG research report behind the ESG score to understand the ESG risks of an investee company. I have written a chronical about this in Kapital‘s special edition on “Tema ESG” and the full text can be found here (delayed access for non-subscribers):

Many companies are not ready for EU Taxonomy communication

2021 09 – Kapital

We are discussing in this Kapital article the problem with DOUBLE COUNTING OF RENEWABLE ENERGY USAGE.

If companies can choose to report market based or location based GHG (Green House Gases) emissions from their use of electricity, it will be tempting to choose the one looking the most favourable…. and many companies do.

A company in the Nordics can choose location based and report they are using almost exclusively renewable energy as this is reflecting the Nordic production, while a Continental European company having bought Nordic renewable energy Guarantees of Origin (GoO), while being based in for example Germany with a high fossil fuel based electricity production, will also report on using renewable energy. DOUBLE COUNTING and all feel good right, but the responsibility for their total Scope 2 GHG emissions is only covered 50% in their total reporting.

The way we see it, location based does not make sense unless the location is not connected to a grid and do not sell GoOs outside the location.

As ESG analysts at sustainAX, we consider that all electricity connected to the European grid without GoOs, is European market based (residual). According to NVE, this is 402 grammes CO2 per kWh. (More info here:

With other words, electricity intense industry in the Nordics must buy GoOs to claim they are using renewable energy even if they are connected to the Nordic corner of the European grid. This is an unavoidable debate to have and the right time is now.

The below Kapital article where we discuss this is in Norwegian. (Paper version came out last Thursday).

What do you think about this?

International interest in Norwegian Green Power bonds

2021 05 – Kapital

Kapital – “Expect renewed international interest in the Norwegian Hydroelectric Power sector” – “Spår fornyet utenlandsk interesse for norsk vannkraft” (original)

We at sustainAX believe the EU Taxonomy, although unfortunately not technology neutral as it should be, is ok for most of the Norwegian Hydroelectric Power. This will going forward see to that the international interest for the sector will grow and have a positive impact on the financing costs.

We also remind companies in the Nordics that if they do not buy the GOs (Guarantees of Origin) they cannot claim they are using renewable energy (if connected to the grid).

The full article can be read (in Norwegian) in the paper version of Kapital 9/2021, or soon here:

If you are interested in reading our ESG overview report on the Norwegian Hydroelectric Power sector, it is here (only requires email registration):