A $1 Trillion Manager's Europe Boss Says ESG Stood the 2020 Test

By Ksenia Galouchko
Oct 23, 2020 1:30 PM ET

Marie Dzanis, head of EMEA for Northern Trust Asset Management, says sustainable investing outperformed during market volatility and extremely rough economic conditions. 


Marie Dzanis, head of Northern Trust Asset Management for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, had no idea how much environmental, social, and governance investing would be put to the test when she announced at a company press briefing in January that the 2020s would be the “decade of ESG.” What followed were months of market turbulence, a global economic crisis during a brutal pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and wildfires in the U.S. Almost every theory about why ESG matters and works has been played out before the world’s eyes this year.

The 53-year-old native of Harrisburg, Pa., who moved to London from the U.S. for her current role in early 2018, says she was glad to see the market embrace investing values that both she and the $1 trillion asset manager have long promoted. Companies abiding by ESG rules turned out to be more resilient during the coronavirus crisis than others and treated their employees better, she says, offering their investors an extra layer of protection in a pandemic-rocked market.