Recent market trends put engagement and voting front and centre for responsible investors
From a market perspective, engagement and voting on governance issues have been used as levers for influence for a long time. On the other hand, environmental and social issues were historically addressed from a values-based perspective or primarily for fact-finding purposes. Today, many responsible investors leverage corporate dialogue as a tool to influence and drive meaningful change and impact
North American Material Risk Engagement Trends: ESG Reporting Frameworks, Emission Reduction Targets and Beyond
There are many factors that rating agencies consider within its overall assessment. For example, ESG rating companies tend to look for at least three years of ESG metrics to determine company trends and long-term ESG targets, goals, and strategies to manage and reduce ESG risks at least five years ahead. Read on to learn about how Sustainalytics' Material Risk Engagement program promotes and protects long-term value by engaging with high-risk companies on financially-material ESG issues. (A North American Snapshot)
Governance in Brief – August 12, 2021
Investors managing over USD 14 trillion of assets have released a set of expectations for companies through the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (“IIGCC”). These are set forth in a “position statement” calling for new corporate governance measures aimed at ensuring that companies can be held accountable for meeting their net zero emissions commitments.
ESG Risks of Aging Pipelines for U.S. Energy Infrastructure Investors
Pipelines play a critical role in the U.S energy infrastructure transporting natural gas, crude oil, natural gas liquids, petroleum, and petrochemical products. While these pipelines play a vital role in supporting the U.S economy, investors are increasingly scrutinizing pipeline operators' long-term economic profitability and sustainability practices. A closer look into the status of pipelines reveals a particular issue that investors need to consider.
ESG Spotlight Report - Investing in racial diversity: North American equities
Access Sustainalytics' second ESG Spotlight Series report on race and ethnic diversity this year. Building on insights from the previous ESG Spotlight, the next series installment focuses on bridging the demographic data gap by compiling corporate disclosures of employee composition. Our research shows that companies with more diverse upper management tended to deliver greater financial returns than those with less diverse upper management over the last five years.
ESG Investors Consider Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 in the Construction Industry
The construction industry can have a reputation for workforce insensitivity and is highly vulnerable to economic and social variabilities. The ESG Impacts of COVID-19 drive companies to adapt to significant challenges related to the demand for construction services. This construction sector research snapshot highlights relevant social issues that corporations face due to ripple effects from the pandemic using Sustainalytics’ ESG Risk Ratings and Controversies Research.
Governance in Brief – August 05, 2021
Activision Blizzard Inc. faces an investor class action lawsuit alleging that it failed to disclose an investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”), which ran for two years and culminated in the agency filing a separate civil suit against the company on July 20, 2021.
Governance in Brief – July 15, 2021
The OECD will review the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance aiming to adapt these “to the post-COVID-19 reality.” The organization noted that the pandemic aggravated structural weaknesses in the “corporate sector” and concluded that strengthening corporate governance should be a priority to promote economic recovery.
EU Taxonomy Developments and the EU’s Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy
On July 6th, the European Commission published its Strategy for Financing the Transition to a Sustainable Economy, the successor of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan, which launched in 2018. The strategy focuses on transforming the financial system and financing transition plans, building on the 2018 Action Plan, which centered on developing the EU Taxonomy, putting in place disclosure regimes, and developing tools for the market to develop sustainable investment solutions and prevent greenwashing.
The Mutual Influence of Investors and Government
On issues from voting rights to climate change, the relationship between investors, companies, and governments has never been more dynamic. This has spurred a lively discussion about the impact and appropriate role of these actors in addressing systemic environmental and social issues. An increasingly cited view is that commitments made by businesses and investors are often superficial, and at best, can provide only incremental progress towards addressing the problems we face. Some go further to suggest that sustainable investing has done more harm than good, with the notion that these efforts have provided a false sense of progress and have delayed meaningful government action. This is a worthwhile debate, but my experience over the last eight years in the sustainable investing space has given me a very different perspective.
Using Systems Thinking to Avoid ESG Investing Blind Spots
For investors looking to enhance ESG risk management and the long-term impact of sustainability efforts, a systemic approach can help identify interventions that will most effectively mitigate the risk of negative outcomes or divert the chain of events towards a more sustainable trajectory. Typically, this involves moving from single-issue or company-specific tactics to progressively integrate system-level considerations in ESG strategies. Targeting systemic change through active ownership is one way to acknowledge and start unravelling the dynamic web of global challenges.