ESG is an investment framework that integrates environmental, social and governance factors into the investment process. ESG Frameworks are now being used by many leading global investors to better understand risk and opportunity. ESGs are also increasingly being integrated into mainstream strategies for both institutional asset owners as well as retail investors. For example, BlackRock has built out a suite of ESG-focused products which have been designed to help clients identify opportunities across the entire capital structure with higher potential for positive societal impact at lower levels of risk. Similarly, JP Morgan Asset Management launched its first sustainable equity fund in 2013 which invests only in companies with high sustainability scores based on approximately 100 different metrics including climate change policies, board diversity initiatives or animal welfare standards.
Since the pandemic has exposed our vulnerabilities and inequities around the world, and with a record year in billion-dollar weather events and social injustice movements ESG has seen increasing demand from investors and business leaders alike. In this post we are going to explore ESG frameworks.
- Why are there ESG frameworks?
- What are the main ESG frameworks?
- What are some ESG metrics?
- What is the meaning of ESG?
- Who uses ESG Frameworks?
- How do you create an ESG strategy?
- Is ESG investing a strategy?
Why are there ESG frameworks?
ESG Frameworks were developed by investors and analysts across the globe to provide a way for investors to better identify problem areas or opportunities for companies. ESG Frameworks can be used to help identify specific company risks, while some frameworks focus on analyzing entire investment portfolios for biases and blind spots.
Currently there is no standard ESG framework; however, the majority of ESG frameworks focus on a company’s environmental, social and governance risk factors.
Environmental Risk: This can include anything from natural disasters to impact on biodiversity. Common examples could be earthquakes, tsunamis , oil spills or nuclear incidents.
Social risks: This can include labour standards, child labour, discrimination, repression of political rights, corruption and human rights violations.
Governance Risk: This can include accounting practices including misstatement or falsification, bribery or corruption in the supply chain, money laundering or terrorist financing.
What are the benefits of using an ESG framework?
ESG Frameworks can help investors better understand the societal impacts of the companies they invest in or short. By assessing a company’s ESG risk, portfolio managers can identify opportunities to seek out higher-yielding investment opportunities with lower risks.
ESG Frameworks have been shown to improve investment returns and build sustainable portfolios based on long-term relationships with clients and employers.
How many ESG reporting frameworks are there?
The number of ESG reporting frameworks is huge! But they all incorporate elements from the main reporting organizations listed below.
What are the main ESG frameworks?
Although on a google search you may pull up a considerable amount of confusing information, the main reporting frameworks are built from:
- Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB)
- Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
- Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
- Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
- UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
- World Economic Forum (WEF) Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics
- Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
What is the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB)?
The Climate Risk Carbon Initiative aims to assess the degree to which energy utility companies can disclose consistent ESG metrics that help investors identify climate risks and opportunities.
What is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)?
The G4 framework is used by 85% of the world’s largest 150 companies, including ExxonMobil, Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Nestlé. It is used to assess a company’s environmental, socioeconomic and governance (ESG) practices.
What is the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)?
The SBTi provides companies with guidance on setting goals that will drive progress towards the Paris Agreement’s 2 degrees Celsius target. A Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was also created and it provides companies and investors with guidance on how to disclose climate-related financial information in a manner that enables meaningful use by other stakeholders.
What are the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)?
The UN PRI is an investor initiative bringing together more than 1,000 institutions who manage more than $62 trillion in assets globally. It includes environmental, social and governance factors in their investment decision making. The portfolio’s are screened for ESG risks using the UN PRI’s screening tool to ensure that investments align with ethical commitments.
What is The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics?
The WEF has identified eight indicators to show how much companies are taking into account stakeholder interests in their decision making. These are referred to as the stakeholders capitalism metrics. They are environmental, social, governance and human development indicators that focus on: citizenship and philanthropy, internal organizational and management factors; product and service performance; capital allocation decisions; impact on communities and accountability standards.
What is the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)?
The CDP’s mission is to drive carbon and climate efficient business practices. They do this through their global disclosure platform, holding corporations accountable for climate change management and performance.
What are some ESG metrics?
ESG metrics are tools that investors use to measure the performance, risk and/or opportunities in a business through its environmental, social and governance impacts. There are many different types of ESG metrics used by organizations to assess companies. But some common examples include:
- Corporate Carbon Footprinting
- Sustainability Metrics
- Climate Adaptation Metrics
- Environmental Auditing
- Sustainability Accounting
Carbon Footprinting is a process for reducing the environmental impacts of a company’s products and operations. In this metric, organizations assess their carbon footprint by measuring greenhouse gas emissions from business activities including manufacturing, transportation or energy use.
Sustainability Metrics are metrics that help to identify environmental risks, both on an individual and company basis. They include measurements of greenhouse gas emissions, energy intensity and waste management.
Climate Adaptation Metrics is a tool used to assess the risks and opportunities of climate change on business operations. These measurements include flood risk, access to water and changes in weather patterns.
Environmental Auditing is a procedure for identifying environmental impacts in an organization’s processes or activities by examining its effects on the environment. They can be conducted at all levels from office buildings to farms to specific products or processes.
Sustainability Accounting is a process used to calculate the value of an organization’s environmental, social and governance performance. This tool can be used to measure impacts in various categories such as energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and waste management.
What is the meaning of ESG?
ESG stands for “environmental, social and governance”, which are the three primary categories investors focus on when evaluating companies. As issues of environmental damage, human rights violations and unethical business practices have gained more attention in recent decades, investors are increasingly concerned with how these factors may affect their investments.
Investors are using ESG metrics to measure the potential risk to their investments posed by environmental damage, human rights violations and unethical business practices. The UN PRI’s screening tool is an example of one method used to screen for ESG risks.
What do ESG Frameworks prioritize? What are their goals?
ESG frameworks focus on the environment, social issues and corporate governance in order to help business and investors quantify sustainable business practices. Their goal is to make companies accountable for any negative environmental, social or governance impacts they have on the world and prioritize sustainable solutions.
Investors who use ESG metrics want to ensure that their investments are supporting businesses with ethical and environmentally friendly management practices. This drives their decision making and helps them choose companies that contribute positively to society.
Who uses ESG Frameworks?
ESG frameworks are used by corporations, investors and governments around the world to encourage responsible business practices. Investors aim to find companies with sustainable management systems that prioritize environmental protection and social welfare over financial return. And governments use these metrics to assess businesses under existing laws or new legislation for certain countries, such as the United Kingdom Modern Slavery Act Transparency in Supply Chains Act.
Corporations use ESG metrics to assess their environmental and social impact on a local, national and global scale. This helps businesses identify areas for improvement throughout their operations, prioritize targets for sustainable business practices, create action plans to achieve results and report progress publicly.
Where do ESG Frameworks originate?
ESG frameworks derive from the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, which encourages investment with environmental, social and governance issues in mind. The UN PRI is one of the biggest sources of information on responsible investments globally. Other international organizations that include or support sustainable business practices are the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
The UN PRI is an organization with over 850 signatories that use its framework to help investors assess sustainable business practices. The IFC works to reduce poverty by financing private sector projects in developing countries, while the WBCSD sets global standards for responsible management across sectors.
How do you create an ESG strategy?
To create an ESG strategy, companies must measure their environmental and social impact on a global scale, identify areas of improvement in each category, set goals to achieve these improvements and report progress publicly.
Companies use ESG metrics to assess the risks posed by environmental damage, human rights violations or unethical business practices. This helps them prioritize sustainable solutions and gives them a view of their impact not just on the bottom line, but also on society.
A company’s ESG strategy should identify areas for improvement and how it will achieve sustainable results. Companies must prioritize targets for sustainable business practices that are measurable, achievable and verifiable. Annual reports should show progress towards these goals to help investors assess the progress of the business. These reports should also outline future plans for sustainable improvement and identify any challenges that may hinder progress towards targets. Keep in mind that in the process of creating these reports, many companies find opportunities that had been previously overlooked.
Is ESG investing a strategy?
ESG investing is a subset of ESG frameworks. It utilizes the same principles to make investment decisions, but instead of using them to drive sustainable business practices, investors use ESG metrics to assess which companies are making positive contributions to society. This ensures that they invest in organizations with ethical and environmentally friendly management systems.
Sustainable investors look for companies that have good ESG performance, strong leadership and reliable financials. Sustainable investors are similar to socially responsible investors who invest in companies that support social issues such as education or healthcare. However, sustainable investors may also consider investing in financially sound organizations with unethical management practices. Some sustainable investors only invest in companies that have been independently verified under B Corps or Fair Trade USA, while others choose to avoid investment in certain sectors such as the tobacco industry.
As a new form of investment, ESG investing is growing steadily and seeing interest from socially responsible investors around the world. As more people and organizations turn to sustainable solutions, the demand for companies with good ESG performance and practices has increased and will continue to grow exponentially.
In conclusion on climate related financial disclosures & sustainability accounting standards board
In conclusion and to summarize, ESG investing is a subset of ESG frameworks where sustainable business practices are used to inform investment decisions. The UN PRI, IFC and WBCSD are all organizations that support sustainable business practices, while B Corps and Fair Trade USA are examples of well-known verification standards for socially responsible businesses. ESG disclosure frameworks are designed as a reporting process for disclosure on a broad range of issues including corporate governance, social impacts, carbon emissions and climate related financial risks. With billion-dollar weather events and a pandemic, sustainability information is the cornerstone for ESG focused funds.rating agencies are scrutinizing every business model on behalf of ESG investors looking for sustainability issues in annual report or other companies report. That is why ESG factors are now more important that ever because institutional investors are now demanding sustainable investing options through ESG funds. That is where a GRI framework or different frameworks like the global reporting initiative gri,the sasb standards and the international integrated reporting council can help. To create an ESG strategy or invest using ESG metrics, organizations must measure their environmental and social impact on a global scale. They should also identify areas for improvement in each category, set goals to achieve sustainable business practices and report progress publicly.
Research & Curation
Dean Emerick is a curator on sustainability issues with ESG The Report, an online resource for SMEs and Investment professionals focusing on ESG principles. Their primary goal is to help middle-market companies automate Impact Reporting with ESG Software. Leveraging the power of AI, machine learning, and AWS to transition to a sustainable business model. Serving clients in the United States, Canada, UK, Europe, and the global community. If you want to get started, don’t forget to Get the Checklist! ✅