As the coronavirus infections continued to spread into every corner of the globe, the players in three societal sectors moved into action – the public sector (governments), the private sector (in the main, corporations, public and private) and what the esteemed Professor Peter Drucker identified as the “Social” sector (i.e., not-for-profits, NGOs, academics, foundations, others).
by Julie Gorte, Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing, Impax Asset Management LLC and Pax World Funds
Climate change is a story that encompasses everyone — believer, denier, rich, poor, black, brown, white, majority, minority, male or female. It’s an equal opportunity wolf at the door. But, as is the case with diversity in almost every pursuit, more diverse groups bring more to the table, and considering that climate change is the most important problem humans must solve, diversity has a contribution to make to climate change.
The mantra Take, Make, Dispose has been the traditional approach of many manufacturing firms over the many decades of the modern industrial revolution. (Are we in Phase One of dramatic change? Two? Three? The World Economic Forum discussions center on Phase Four – the Fourth Industrial Revolution.) And part of that is the focus on greater sustainability in industry.
The importance of the work over the past several years of the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board in developing industry-specific ESG disclosure recommendations was underscored with the recent letters to company leadership from two of the world’s leading asset management firms.
During your travels, or even going about your usual business and personal activities, do you recall the days when… Pilots remember having to use cockpit instruments when flying over large cities because the “smog” (usually thick yellow) eliminated visibility below. That was caused by belching smokestacks as dirty coal was burned for industrial use or for generating electric power.
Mirror, mirror on the wall – who is the most sustainable company of them all? That memorable line from the Walt Disney Studios’ 1930s classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is being regularly applied now by a widening range of third party players in examining the performance and achievements of U.S., North American and global companies (and applying their methodologies on an ever-widening list of criteria).
Following my time in the military and as a regulator with the FDIC, I made my way into financial services in an investment capacity, with an intention to help people navigate their financial challenges. I wanted to help build a better outcome for their financial goals. Part of that was development of a process around investing in companies that support a more sustainable world as a whole, and not just companies that are financially sound.
Here we are now in a new year, and new decade (the third decade of the 21st Century) and much of the buzz is all about (1) climate change and the dramatic impacts on business, finance, government and we humans around the globe; and (2) many more investors are moving their money to more sustainable investments.
The big news this week for sustainability professionals: The publication of the much-anticipated annual letter to corporate chief executive officers by Larry Fink, Chair and CEO of BlackRock -- the world’s largest asset manager (with almost US7 trillion in Assets Under Management).