The rise of ESG Investing has been noted by many people and it is not hard to understand why. ESG investing, according to the U.S. National Association of State Boards of Investment (NASBI), is defined as “a strategy that focuses on companies with strong environmental, social and governance practices” which are evaluated in a transparent way. It can be difficult for investors who want to invest responsibly in stocks because they have so many choices these days! But what does this mean for sustainability?
This blog post will explore how ESG investing impacts the environment, society, and business performance over time when done well-and where there are still opportunities for improvement when it comes to sustainable investing.
What does ESG stand for?
ESG is the measurement of a companies environmental, social and governance practices.
Environmental: ESG looks at how environmentally friendly a company is and if they are doing things that can damage the environment.
Social: ESG takes into consideration social factors such as diversity, pay gaps and benefits for all employees within a business.
Governance: Governance considers whether or not businesses have good corporate governance practices in place to avoid corruption and scandals.
What are the benefits of ESG investing?
The main benefit of ESG is that it can help investors identify risks and opportunities that may not be visible through other analysis techniques. Many times companies with poor ESG practices have a higher chance of financial distress, which means investors who focus on these factors can avoid potential losses.
There has been a rise in ESG investing due to its many benefits including financial returns, risk reduction, and promoting ethical business practices.
Is ESG investing about investors or companies?
The rise of ESG investing can be attributed to both investors and companies. Investors are becoming more aware that their money is not only invested in the price of stocks, but also in the company’s values. The shift has come about due to an increased awareness of environmental, social, and governance issues by society as a whole.
Companies have benefited from this shift because it gives them an opportunity to show off their socially responsible practices while simultaneously building trust with potential future investors. Government alone will not be able to lift us out of our social and environmental problems. It will also require the efforts of industry and individuals. Sustainable investing will force companies to change and innovation will turn the tide. That makes ESG investing a win-win-win. Planet, People, Profit.
When did ESG investing become popular?
Like most things that just seem to be everywhere all of a sudden, it started very slowly. The first time the phrase “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article was in 1996. However, it wasn’t until 2006 that sustainable investment really started to take off with the release of the UNEP Finance Initiative report titled “Sustainable Investing: The Road to Financial Sustainability”. The biggest moment for ESG investing was in 2011 when the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on promoting responsible investment practices globally, which propelled sustainable investing into the spotlight even more than before!
Today there are over 530 signatories to the Principles for Responsible Investment, representing over $60 trillion in assets under management.
What is ESG investing?
- ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. ESG factors are issues that can have a material impact on a company’s business and investment performance.
- ESG investing refers to the incorporation of Environmental, Social, and Governance issues into investment analysis and decision making.
- Sustainable investing is the process of aligning one’s investments with their personal values or mission statement with an aim to have a positive social and environmental impact as well as financial returns.
- ESG investing may include taking into account a company’s environmental impact when deciding whether or not to invest in their stock. It can also mean that investors avoid companies with poor records on worker safety, human rights issues like child labor, bribery/corruption, animal cruelty (eg. animal testing), etc.
- ESG investing can also be applied to bonds, which would mean that investors are not interested in companies with poor records on poverty alleviation or greenhouse gas emissions for example.
- Investing responsibly is about ensuring an investment portfolio aligns with your personal values and beliefs rather than simply seeking the best returns possible. ESG criteria are one way to do this.
You may also want to read What are Sustainable Investing Companies?
Why is ESG investing important?
ESG investing is important because it allows investors to use their money to create positive change in the world. Sustainable or responsible investing has been shown to outperform traditional methods over time, meaning that you can make a difference and earn a good return on your investment at the same time!
ESG investing is important because it can lead to more ethical business practices across all industries. The Sustainable Investment Review Board has said that “ensuring sound environmental and social practice enhances a company’s long-term profitability…and sustainable firms are better equipped to manage risk and capitalize on opportunities”
How does ESG create value?
The application of sustainable principles has been shown to reduce risk when applied across an entire portfolio. It can have a positive impact on companies’ business strategies and practices which in turn help build more sustainable societies, businesses, and economies.
Overall, ESG has been proven to improve company performance while also positively impacting society. That makes this type of investing an important and powerful tool in any investors’ portfolio. Sustainable investments are also less volatile than traditional investments which makes them a more attractive option.
ESG is a long-term investment strategy with the goal of producing sustainable, positive returns on your investments over time.
You might also like to read What are ESG Certifications?
How much has ESG increased?
ESG investing has seen a rapid increase in popularity in recent years. A study by Morgan Stanley found that sustainable investments made up $22 trillion, or 26 percent of the global investment, representing over $60 trillion in assets under management. And that was pre-pandemic. Now, with the world in lock-down and billion dollar weather events happening on every continent, people are turning to ESG investment to make their money work towards sustainability.
How fast is the rise of ESG investing?
Recent studies show that ESG investing is growing faster than any other type of investment. A study by Morgan Stanley found that sustainable investments made up $22 trillion, or 26 percent of the global investment, representing over $60 trillion in assets under management pre-pandemic. And that was just a fraction of what’s out there!
What percentage of investments are ESG?
ESG investing has been on the rise in recent years, with an estimated $22 trillion of assets under management taking into account environmental, social, and governance factors as of January 2018. This corresponds to around one-third of all global investments. The reasons for this growth are manifold: a heightened awareness of the need for sustainable practices across industries, the increasing availability of ESG data and analytics, and a shift in investor mindset away from short-termism to long term investment strategies.
What does ESG friendly or sustainable investing really mean?
ESG friendly means that the company’s practices align with certain values around social responsibility and environmental concerns. If a business does not take these matters seriously it will likely lose investors who want to put their money into companies that do care about these issues.
In conclusion on sustainable investing
ESG is in the early stages of the market. It is said about ESG, that whoever cares wins. But data suggests that sustainable investing is increasingly important and not just window dressing for the stock indices. Many investors believe that there is long term value in the technology that will save our communities from the future effects of climate change. No matter what the location of a company, personalized strategies for portfolios and market trends are moving to reduce emissions, get out of coal and tobacco and avoid other harmful investments.
You may also want to read ESG Meaning: A Comprehensive Guide to ESG Investing
Caveats, disclaimers, asset managers & esg factors
At ESG | The Report, we believe that we can help make the world a more sustainable place through the power of education. We have covered many topics in this article and want to be clear that any reference to, or mention of investment processes in the context of this article is purely for informational purposes and not to be misconstrued as investment or any other legal advice or an endorsement of any particular company or service. Neither ESG | The Report, it’s contributors or their respective companies or any of its members gives any warranty with respect to the information herein, and shall have no responsibility for any decisions made, or action taken or not taken which relates to matters covered by ESG | The Report. As with any investment, we highly recommend that you get a financial advisor or investment adviser, do your homework in advance of making any moves in the stock market. Thank you for reading, and we hope that you found this article useful in your quest to understand ESG and sustainable business practices. We look forward to building a sustainable world with you.
We recommend you also read What does an ESG Score Mean?