Responsible Engagement Report Reveals Managing the Environmental and Social Impacts of Engagement Requires Greater Attention

Study by Sustainalytics and Cass Business School shows how engagement and ESG integration are interrelated

June 30, 2016, Amsterdam; LondonSustainalytics, a leading global provider of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research, ratings and analytics, and Cass Business School, today released a new research report titled, Engagement: Unlocking the Black Box of Value Creation. The study presents a new typology of investor engagement, and provides insights into the interaction between ESG integration and engagement as well as the multiple values associated with engagement.

Engagement is one of the fastest growing responsible investment strategies globally together with ESG integration, and is considered an effective way to fulfill investors’ fiduciary duty and stewardship obligations. Yet, while investors have been actively involved in engagements for many years, little is known about engagement practices, processes and successes.

To better understand various ESG engagement approaches, the partners conducted 36 in-depth interviews with institutional investor representatives across France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The findings reveal that managing the environmental and social impacts of engagement requires more attention. While progress is being made, there is the need for greater consistency in the scope, content and quality of investors’ ESG engagement disclosures across all three countries.

Dr. Hendrik Garz, Sustainalytics’ Executive Director of Thematic Research, said: “Our extensive analysis can potentially serve as a valuable opportunity for institutional investors to benchmark their activities against their European peers and inform policy development on engagement.  We enjoyed working with Cass Business School on this first initiative and look forward to advancing the dialogue around this critically important topic.”

Jean-Pascal Gond, Cass Professor of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and current head of the ETHOS research centre, said: “We now have a better understanding of the challenges facing institutional investors in identifying and recording the specific environmental and social impacts of their engagement activities. Greater collaboration by multiple stakeholders to develop comprehensive metrics will likely enhance the environmental and social outcomes of investor engagement efforts.”

The full report can be accessed here. For more information on Sustainalytics’ Academic Program, please visit here.

About Sustainalytics

Sustainalytics is an independent ESG and corporate governance research, ratings and analysis firm supporting investors around the world with the development and implementation of responsible investment strategies. With 14 offices globally, Sustainalytics partners with institutional investors who integrate environmental, social and governance information and assessments into their investment processes. Today, the firm has more than 250 staff members, including 170 analysts with varied multidisciplinary expertise of more than 40 sectors. Through the IRRI survey, investors selected Sustainalytics as the best independent responsible investment research firm for three consecutive years, 2012 through 2014 and in 2015, Sustainalytics was named among the top three firms for both ESG and Corporate Governance research.  For more information, visit

About Cass Business School

Cass Business School, which is part of City University London, is a leading global business school driven by world-class knowledge, innovative education and a vibrant community. Located in the heart of one of the world’s leading financial centres, Cass has strong links to both the City of London and the thriving entrepreneurial hub of Tech City. It is among the global elite of business schools that hold the gold standard of triple-crown accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA), and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). The faculty at Cass are experts in their fields, producing cutting-edge research with real-world impact. The recent Research Excellence Framework results assessed 84% of Cass research to be world leading or internationally excellent. Cass educates nearly 4,000 students each year on globally renowned programs across all levels of study from undergraduate, to masters, to Executive Education. On graduating, students join a 38,000 strong alumni community across more than 160 countries. Cass Business School blends academic excellence, extraordinary experiences and career progression to foster life-long learning. @cassbusiness

Media Contacts:

Sarah Cohn
Director of Marketing, Sustainalytics
P) +1 646.963.6944 


Kyla Njoku
Senior Communications Officer, Cass Business School
P) +44 (0) 207 040 3013