Tag Archives: Sustainability

ESG – Is anybody listening, does anybody care – YES indeed!

Who Cares About ESG?

Before we answer the question “Who cares about ESG?” I think we should first define it. The acronym itself stands for environmental, social and governance factors that apply to a business or enterprise. According to Investopedia, E-S and G are the three main factors investors consider with regard to a firm’s ethical impact and sustainable practices. The site gives some examples that fall under each of the broad headings, including “the company’s impact on climate change or carbon emissions, water use or conservation efforts, anti-corruption policies, board member diversity, human rights efforts and community development.”

ESG and sustainability are often used interchangeably (even though they are not) because the investor community tends to refer to ESG whereas companies tend to refer to these criteria under the umbrella of sustainability. Regardless, Nasdaq reports that both terms refer to the ESG factors that “can impact a company’s ability to execute its business strategy and create value.”

So, who cares about ESG? Certainly member states of the U.N. who signed on to the organization’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are monitoring, measuring and verifying these criteria. And, moving from the perspective of the nation state to an enterprise, more than 12,000 have pledged to support the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Drilling down to the individual level, Thomson Reuters notes that we’re in the midst of the “the largest inter-generational transfer of wealth ever seen, with some US $24 Trillion expected to be under the control of the millennial population by 2020.” Yes, by next year. And, just as millenials value purpose in their work, they also choose investments that reflect their values.

At Duane Morris, we strive to serve our clients as trusted business partners so we can deliver them exceptional value. Throughout the year, starting later this month, we will be convening business leaders to take a deeper dive into various ESG topics that are affecting their companies and creating opportunities for investors and venture partners. In addition to this blog, we will also be hosting a webinar series and will seek to create additional content as ESG-related issues arise through new legislation and regulatory mandates.

With so much of the world’s attention on the impact we’re having on our collective environment and in our communities, and with so much of the world’s wealth at stake, perhaps the real question is not who cares about ESG, but, rather who isn’t concerned about ESG?

#ESG #sustainability #GRESB #SDG #SASB #GRI

ESG – Relevant in this day and age or just a fad?

I had the pleasure of attending the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) – Philadelphia Chapter meeting yesterday morning at the Union League in Philadelphia.  Very good attendance to hear Dave Stangis (Campbell’s Soup), Jamie Rantanen (US Trust) and Jennifer Wong (Glenmede) discuss the topic of ESG (“Environmental, Social and Governance”) as it relates to public company and private company investment.

ESG provides companies and investors with a systematic means to identify risk within the lens of environmental issues, social issues and governance issues.  Different, but related to, Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) which is the means of improving social outcomes within an organization and how and organization measures its ESG outcomes.

Super conversation and some interesting questions from the audience during the presentation that touched on aligning values with investment outcomes (i.e., impact investing), risk mitigation through focus on ESG, the Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs), the increase of shareholder activism in the investment space, including an increased focus on ESG issues, the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (or SASB) and their focus on measurable sustainability metrics, and the difference between philanthropy, impact investing, ESG investing and standard market investing.

To the question about ESG and is it relevant from the audience member focused on mutual fund investing – the panel and this author firmly believe yes, ESG is relevant, becoming more relevant and an increasing amount of investors are seeking to invest in companies that align their ROI with ESG.  No, not everyone, of course, but more and more as time goes on.  I for one believe ESG will continue to become more relevant as a lens within which to view investing, efficiency, and alignment of investor interests with companies that more closely match their values.

I look forward to engaging in the conversation as the year progresses and to including some of my friends and colleagues in a monthly chat on ESG. Come join us if of interest.

Check out RBS’s chart at http://go.pardot.com/l/441592/2018-09-18/jjjrt8 for some interesting data

See also, Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock’s statement on ESG – https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/publication/blk-esg-investment-statement-web.pdf

#Sustainability #ESG #SRI #impactinvesting #governance #SASB #environmental, social, governance