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.
A Closer Look at Product Governance ESG Risk Management
In 68% of our engagements, product governance is a significant material ESG issue, but it is our experience that most companies underestimate the materiality of this risk to investors. For some industries, product governance represents on average more than 20% of ESG risk exposure, as identified within our ESG Risk Rating framework.
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 Risk Exposure from COVID-19 Vaccine Transportation and Distribution
As mass vaccination against the coronavirus started, a key challenge has been to keep millions of doses of vaccines at the right temperature. An increase in temperature inside a truck or aircraft, by half a degree, for half an hour, would reportedly result in a 'defrosted' vaccine which has then to be discarded.
Five Commonly Asked Questions About Sustainalytics’ Approach to Impact
We launched our new Impact Metrics product to support investors’ growing need for more robust data that can be used to demonstrate how ESG-focused strategies can deliver real-world social and environmental outcomes. Since the launch, I have connected with many enthusiastic institutional investors eager to make sense of the rapidly evolving world of impact, excited to dive into impact data, and cautiously optimistic about supporting their clients’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and impact needs.
10 for 2021: Investing in the Circular Economy
This report aims to support investors interested in gauging environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities in the global food value chain. We survey key subindustries – from agrochemicals, agriculture and aquaculture to packaged food, food retail and restaurants – in search of solutions that may support the principles of the circular economy (CE). These principles include minimizing waste and pollution, extending the use-phase of products and ecosystem regeneration. Some of the key insights found in the report are:
Cruising Post-COVID-19: Lessons and Challenges for the Cruise Ship Industry
In this blog, we assess the impacts of COVID-19 on the cruise ship industry by taking a closer look at the four biggest cruise companies and their COVID-19-related controversies since February 2020. We also gauge their management of product governance and human capital issues, with the aim of informing investors of each company’s preparedness to address relevant risks as well as challenges and potential hurdles in the industry’s post-pandemic operations.
Beer, Wine & Spirits in the Era of COVID-19
Companies operating in the Beer, Wine and Spirits subindustry have suffered from knock-on effects of COVID-19 lockdown measures, as governments across the globe have moved to close hotels, bars and restaurants, and ban large events and gatherings, such as festivals and sports events. Given that these venues are an important source of revenue for alcohol companies, investors within this space may benefit from a closer look at how firms have adapted to the rapidly changing market conditions.
Coal Investments: Up in Smoke?
Growing public concern over climate change is pushing investors to increasingly assess how their portfolios are pivoting to a low carbon economy. Because of its large carbon footprint, the coal industry is a prime target of environmental activism and divestment campaigns, and it is becoming the investable hot potato few want to hold.
The Budding Cannabis Industry: A first look at ESG Considerations
While investors are being drawn to the cannabis industry by the lure of an expanding market and profit potential, uncertainties around regulations, scalability and potential stock price corrections remain. Underexplored ESG risks could also present material concerns for management teams and investors entering the industry.
Nuclear Power and ESG: Can They Play Together?
Nuclear power in particular can be a controversial and confusing topic with respect to ESG factors. Sustainalytics, a leading global ESG and corporate governance analytics firm, has joined Morningstar Research Services to present a comprehensive ESG analysis of nuclear power, including a look at carbon emissions intensity, waste management, operational management, public safety, worker safety, and regulatory oversight.
Shipbreaking: Clean Shipping in Deep Water
Cleaner shipping has been a trending topic particularly since the International Maritime Organization (IMO) declared that 2020 will mark the “beginning of a decade of action and delivery” for the shipping industry.[i] A key approach to cleaner shipping is for companies to renew their fleet with more environmental-friendly vessels. However, this approach triggers an obsolescence of older vessels and increases shipbreaking activity. In Sustainalytics’ 10 for 2020 report, we mention the issue of shipping practices with large environmental impacts including shipbreaking practices which we will explore more in depth in this article.
PFAS Sparks a Wave of Litigation in the U.S. Chemical Industry
In 2019, a wave of litigation related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) emerged in the United States, as several states filed lawsuits against PFAS manufacturers, including DuPont, Chemours and 3M. This legal action accompanies increased regulatory scrutiny of this potentially risky class of chemicals. In this article, we will focus on the risks chemical companies face related to PFAS contamination of drinking water in the United States and the ESG risks posed to chemical companies and their investors.
The Opioid Crisis and the Continued Uncertainty for Affected Companies
As the first National Prescription Opiates Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) cases are set to get underway in late October, we take a closer look company involvement in U.S. opioid crisis and how it has evolved since our first article on the topic in 2017. We also provide an overview of how the ESG risks highlighted in our initial article have materialized over the last two fiscal years (FY2018 and FY2019) for the companies involved.
Controversial Weapons: Regulatory Landscape and Best Practices
Since the beginning of modern warfare in the 20th century, we have witnessed the development of weapon types that have a severe, disproportionate and indiscriminate impact on civilians, even years after a conflict has ended. Over the past decades, several protest movements have attempted to halt and ban the production of specific, controversial weapon types, and many countries have adopted international conventions to this effect. More recently, some financial institutions have begun to restrict or exclude financing of companies with involvement in certain weapons. This article explores what investors can do, beyond existing legal frameworks, with respect to controversial weapons.
Point of Sale Financing: Inclusive for all?
What is Point of Sale Financing? Point of sale financing (PSF) is a relatively new financial product that has garnered significant interest from consumers, retailers and financial institutions. It provides financing to markets that were previously underserviced by conventional financial products but can also be a gateway to impulsive spending and poor financial choices if not managed properly. This article provides a brief overview of PSF, the pros and cons for consumers, a comparison of PSF with conventional lending vehicles and a sector review looking at policies addressing financial inclusion.
Can Italian Banks Avoid Another Financial Crisis?
Italy is the birthplace of the accounting and credit systems and is home to some of the world’s oldest banks. Despite this legacy, poor lending decisions in the past decade and a high number of non-performing loans (NPLs) is putting the Italian banking sector at risk. This article will explore the connection between responsible product marketing practices and the financial stability of Italian banks by analyzing Sustainalytics’ ESG data.
Self-Driving Technology: Risks and Opportunities through an ESG Lens
As technology and automobile companies race to bring autonomous vehicles (AVs) to the road, we consider the ESG risks and opportunities facing this disruptive technology. Estimates of when AVs will be fully automated vary (Figure 1); however, the consensus is that AVs are inevitable and different stages of automation will be slowly introduced.