Rubles Russia ESG

Banks’ ESG Risks Related to the Russia-Ukraine Conflict on Investors’ Radars

Investor interest in the banking sector remains high as the impact of Russian sanctions unfolds. Based on Morningstar Sustainalytics’ research, total unmanaged risk has increased for both Russian and international banks with exposure to Russian clients. To what extent have sanctions affected banks’ total unmanaged risk?

grain processing plant in a field

ESG Impacts of the War in Ukraine: Global Food Supply

The invasion of Ukraine highlights the fragility of the global food system. The destruction caused by the war and subsequent trade restrictions on Russia, endangers a significant percentage of the global food supply coming from two of world’s leading agricultural commodity exporters, consequently prompting food prices to surpass the 30-year high.

Mass Timber in Construction - Big Buildings, Smaller Carbon Footprint

As an innovation in the industry, mass timber construction emits significantly less carbon than traditional concrete and metal structures, while modular construction ensures usability across many building types. This article reviews some of the concerns over structural strength, fire safety, regulatory compatibility, cost savings and the sustainability of increased forestry. It then examines current mass timber buildings and projects and looks at their viability as an alternative material for the future.

Ukraine Oil and Gas

Russia, ESG Risks in Energy, and Corporate Citizenship

As the unprecedented situation in Ukraine continues to unfold, Russia’s energy industry has remained remarkably untouched by the waves of sanctions currently being deployed against the country, despite being arguably its most important sector. While the European Union and its allies have been cautious to avoid disrupting energy flows (unlike how sanctions are currently disrupting the flow of capital), international oil companies are responding to the crisis in their own capacity.

oil and gas ESG risk

The ESG Risks of National Oil Companies Taking Over Fossil Fuel Production from International Oil Majors

As growing pressure to cut GHG emissions is causing Western oil majors to sell their high-carbon assets, it is expected that National Oil Companies (NOCs) will pick up some of the production. For investors holding an interest in or considering investing in NOCs or sovereign debt, it is worth assessing how fossil fuel production shifts will impact their portfolio’s alignment with climate ambitions and ESG values.

human rights engagement

Human Rights Due Diligence – An Essential Step for Corporate Social Sustainability

Corporates seeking to be socially sustainable must be able to comply with existing and upcoming legislation, mitigate reputational risks, and meet the evolving expectations of their stakeholders.

oil refinery GHG

The Impact and Cost of Air Pollution: U.S. Petroleum Refineries

Investors can examine to what extent petroleum refiners manage their Non-GHG Air Emissions and assess the quality of a company's programs to reduce air pollutants. For instance, examining all the petroleum refiners assessed by Sustainalytics, we observe that only 3% have a strong program to manage non-greenhouse gas emissions.

energy crisis

What ESG Risks Should Investors Consider During the Energy Crisis?

As world leaders prepare to meet in Glasgow for COP26 to discuss accelerating climate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, an emerging energy crisis persists around the world.

controversial weapons ESG

The Governance of Killer Robots: What Investors Should Know

The ethical implications of lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), often referred to by their dramatic moniker ‘killer robots’, have long been a topic of interest. Until recently, debates about LAWS were relegated as hypothetical, with the technology assumed to be under development and out of reach. Such assumptions may be due for reevaluation, and while a firm conclusion is yet to be drawn, it is worthwhile presenting them to the ESG investment community.

European Court of Human Rights

Bringing Investors and Companies Together to Accelerate Human Rights Progress

Human rights issues have been rising on the responsible investment agenda in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have provoked even more pointed discourse on the topic. The European Union’s current efforts to introduce rules to hold companies accountable for social and environmental risks in their supply chains further accelerate that ascent. This wave of legal requirements and normative expectations is impacting financial markets worldwide, with responsible business regulations already in place or quickly becoming valid.

Responsible Investing

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)

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.

parliament hill ottawa canada

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.

office social distance

Banks Embrace Corporate Culture as Change Agent

Corporate culture is not automatically positive, and elements of a company’s culture may provide certain benefits or disadvantages to a firm’s competitiveness. When acknowledged, corporate culture can be used as a tool to drive better business outcomes and manage conduct and compliance risk. Our discussions with companies show that corporate culture can have a dominant effect and influence behaviour over and beyond stated company policies and programs.

rainforest biodiversity

Deforestation and Biodiversity Loss Highlight the Need for a Better Normal

The world is aching for a return to normality after a year (and still counting) of news bulletins being dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic; Earth Day 2021 should serve as a stark reminder that we cannot go back to business-as-usual. We must address the vast environmental challenges facing humanity, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, extreme weather and issues related to water.

Personal Products and the New Ethics of Product Naming

Over recent years, personal product (PP) companies have faced an increasing demand for more inclusive product governance – from formulations to labels – and marketing that reflects the diversity of consumers. To grow sustainably within their communities and stay relevant for their target customers, such companies need to create value for society proactively. Some of the major players in this industry have already started paving the way for others.

926 Engagement Meetings in Emerging Markets

Lessons Learned from 926 Engagement Meetings in Emerging Markets

When Sustainalytics (GES[1]) initiated the Emerging Markets (EM) Engagement program as a pilot project in 2009, the scale, scope and impact were undetermined factors. Based on the successful execution of the program methodology in the African and Middle Eastern regions during the pilot stage, the full program launched in 2010 to cover all major emerging markets. After the project close in July 2020, the program accounts for 926 meetings with companies in emerging markets.

Two Sides of the Corporate Taxation Debate

There is a growing awareness of how, and how much, corporations pay in taxes. This heightened cognizance has led to on-going public debates regarding the inherently unfair structure of many global corporate tax systems.

Taxation 2.0

Focused on 20 companies in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors, this engagement aims to create awareness among companies on tax avoidance and to encourage companies to approach tax as a corporate governance and risk management issue.