State Street Corp is one of the world's leading asset managers, with US$2.47 trillion in AUM. State Street Global Advisors CEO Ron O'Hanley in late-January sent a message to the boards of directors of public companies whose stock is in State Street portfolios: SSGA is increasing focus on climate change, safety, workplace diversity and various other ESG issues. Especially climate change. Tell us more about what you are doing.
This is not encouraging: the respected management consulting company Bain & Company surveyed the leaders of 300 companies engaged in "sustainability transformation" and conducted interviews with heads of sustainability recognized for outstanding results.
The question: What are the results of instituting sustainability as a top priority? The answer: Alas, not really encouraging for stakeholders, says Bain & Company. There's an important "but" here with tips for CEOs and C-suite on how to overcome the odds of losing forward momentum in corporate sustainability efforts.
Every year the Canadian-headquartered firm Corporate Knights (publishing, research) ranks “the world’s most sustainable companies,” from a universe of 4,000 global enterprises with market cap of at least US$2 billion each. The research team applies 14 metrics in its analysis of “corporate sustainability” to evaluate the management and governance of the sustainability journey.
We are about to enter "uncertain terrain" or as the ancient Romans called it, terra incognita - when it comes to what [national] public policies the United States of America will / or will not pursue in the days ahead regarding the complex issues surrounding "climate change" (or dare we say..."global warming").
Welcome to 2017 -- Quo Vadis for Corporate Sustainability and Sustainable Investment for This New Year?
At the outset of the Year 2016 we were seeing so many (mostly) positive trends converging in a critical mass that spelled out "s-u-c-c-e-s-s-f-u-l" year ahead for sustainability professionals, whether they toiled in the corporate sector, in the capital markets, in NGO offices, in the public sector, and so on. In January 2016 we began to explore these trends one-by-one and in the collective, to develop commentary around the respective themes and developments.
The investment community -- especially fiduciaries -- continues to have a flow of more "green" products being made available from a growing number of issuers and their intermediaries; these include "green bonds." Charting this trend, a team of Barclays managers and researchers issued a report as part of the "Barclays Impact Series." Their findings: ESG investing can have a positive effect on portfolios for institutional and individual investors. There are small-but-steady performance benefits and no evidence of a negative impact for such investing.
Are you holding your breath after the November elections? Wondering where corporate sustainability or sustainable investing goes from here? What our public sector positioning may be on issues of importance to the corporate or capital markets communities?
The author of the best seller, "Green to Gold" takes on the Quo Vadis questions regarding sustainability issues as President-elect Donald J. Trump builds and announces his management team, albeit with an unusual method that reminds one of the popular TV show, "The Apprentice."
For the past two years a few data points / narratives stood out in conversations about making the sustainable investing case: “$1-in-$6 in Assets Under (professional) Management; $6 trillion-plus; 12% and more of the total equity AUM. Hey – there are important new references points now to use, courtesy of the U.S. Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) and the SIF Foundation, and SIF/Croatan Institute research team. These findings come from the report just released by US SIF: “Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends 2016.”
The voters have spoken; their decision is known. It may not have been the news that was expected, or hoped for, but the Office of the President of the United States of America is now in transition. What does that mean for advocates of greater corporate and societal sustainability…corporate responsibility…corporate citizenship…a cleaner, lower-carbon economy? What will happen to the US support of COP 21 goals and objectives? What about the US low-carbon economy? What about the SEC views on expanding corporate disclosure to include more ESG information? What about Dodd-Frank rules now i