Volume & Velocity Those may well be the key characteristics of developments in corporate sustainability and in sustainable investing in the year 2018.
Linda-Eling Lee, Global Head of Research for MSCI’s ESG Research Group and her colleague Matt Moscardi (Head of Research Financial Sector, ESG) this week described what they are projecting in the traditional early-in-the-year setting out of key ESG trends to watch by the influential MSCI ESG team:
Huffington Post writer Lauren DeMates has her “Top 10” list up for the 2017 forces that shaped (in her opinion) sustainability. Guiding her choice: “…many of 2017’s activities were prompted by the unprecedented attack on science and environmental protection by the Trump administration. However, efforts to counteract the anti-environmental agenda and work towards a more sustainable society have been unprecedented as well...”
And in that context, she identifies the following:
A significant new player is now entering the mix of the growing number of organizations providing institutional investors with ESG rankings and data. At G&A Institute, we've been tracking the growth of these organizations (such as MSCI, Sustainalytics, RobecoSAM, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and others) and work with our clients to help managements understand, optimize and utilize these important intelligence points coming from the rapidly-growing number of investors considering ESG.
Once again, the authoritative Harvard Business Review weighs in on corporate sustainability with a commentary piece on the top trends of 2017 – with “big leaps both forward and backward” in the year just concluded. And there was some predictability, writes author Andrew Winston in his commentary, as he says he predicted: “…the context for sustainable business in 2017 may center on the competition between two stories, the election of Donald Trump and significant action on climate change…”
"Sustainability is front and center in the apparel sector" -- so writes Tara Donaldson in the November 5th feature story in the Sourcing Journal in covering the Textile Sustainability Conference in October. Seven major trends were discussed at the meeting of industry execs.
In brief: Profits and growth are only two legs of a three-legged stool, with sustainability just as important, says a new study.
Is corporate growth and profitability "hard wired" to sustainability and trust? Important question! The answer (a declarative "yes") was advanced by Mark Pearson and Bill Theofilou, of the Accenture consulting firm, in a recent white paper.
California....Water: The place name and the liquid substance are interconnected in the minds of sustaianbility professionals thinking about climate change and the effects that we are already seeing in the American landscape.
The chronic drought in the Golden State has brought the water shortage issue in sharp relief, especially since California is for many crops the "breadbasket" of America, and sufficient water for irrigation and food processing is a critical need.
"Operating under the radar" -- that is, various categories of institutional investors getting active in the "investor activist" game? Bruce Goldfarb, CEO of Okapi Partners, describes a sea change that he sees that is underway, the trend in how large institutions are approaching in the [investor] push for corporate change. The lens is the annual corporate proxy season and the many campaigns therein, including the 2017 campaign. Okapi is one of the influential proxy advisors for both investor and companies, working on some 48 campaigns during 2017.
The S&P 500 (R) universe of large-cap companies is the most widely used gauge for investors of large-cap U.S. corporate entities. There is more than US$7 trillion investments benchmarked to the S&P 500, with index assets of almost $2 trillion represented. The index captures more than 80 percent of available market capitalization, notes owner S&P Dow Jones Indexes / McGraw Hill Financial.