News & Commentaries by Ron Robins
Why activists are cheerleaders for corporate social responsibility. “Profits, not ethics, are behind big-name investors′ interest in ESG issues.”
[COMMENTARY] Now we know ESG has ’arrived’ and why it’s fast becoming integral to financial analysis. Investors everywhere are realizing it pays to incorporate ESG criteria in selecting investments no matter their moral compass. However, I’d still prefer that the new ESG oriented investors regard ethics as crucial to their own decision making and behaviour.
Why activists are cheerleaders for corporate social responsibility, by Lindsay Fortado, December 26, 2017, FT, UK.
CalPERS′ Ongoing Push Into ESG Drives a Healthy Debate. “The debate started when the American Council for Capital Formation published a sharply written report alleging that, as the group puts it, ’CalPERS has prioritized relatively poor performing environmental, social and governance [ESG] investments at the expense of other investments more likely to optimize returns.’”
[COMMENTARY] This is an interesting debate–but I believe CalPERS is right to be ESG focused and they make a good argument for that.
CalPERS′ Ongoing Push Into ESG Drives a Healthy Debate, by John Manganaro, December 21, 2017, PLANSPONSOR, USA.
2017 Engaged Tracking Carbon Rankings. “A transparent, public and standardised ranking of the world’s largest companies and their carbon emissions.”
[COMMENTARY] Engaged Tracking created its carbon tracking methodology with the help of the prestigious UK university, Imperial College. So, it has a great pedigree. Registration–which is free–is advised.
2017 Engaged Tracking Carbon Rankings, December 2017, Engaged Tracking, UK.
Influential investors urge 100 carbon-intensive companies to step up climate action. “Today, as many as 225 influential global investors with more than $26.3 trillion in assets under management pledged to engage with 100 corporates estimated to be responsible for around 85 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, so as to step up their ambition on climate action.”
[COMMENTARY] This could greatly influence the direction of numerous companies responsible for global greenhouse gas emissions towards environmental sustainability. It came out in parallel with this week’s Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit.
Influential investors urge 100 carbon-intensive companies to step up climate action, by Michael Holder, December 13, 2017, GreenBiz, USA.
Rediscovering our Moral Compass: JUST Capital′s 2017 List of America′s Most JUST Companies. “Today, JUST Capital, in partnership with Forbes, has released the 2017 list of America′s Most JUST Companies, our annual ranking of the largest publicly-traded U.S. corporations.”
[COMMENTARY] With Forbes behind it, JUST Capital is getting much attention–and justifiably so. The 2017 ’just’ American companies’ list is undoubtedly a key ranking for ESG-ethical investors to review. My concern with the list is its leaders are absolutely dominated by tech companies. Hence, it makes me a little leery as to its methodology.
Rediscovering our Moral Compass: JUST Capital′s 2017 List of America′s Most JUST Companies, December 2017, JUST Capital, USA.
Index Managers Taking Note as ESG Surges: Morningstar. “Morningstar finds biggest index managers have expanded their stewardship or corporate-governance teams.”
[COMMENTARY] Morningstar’s research findings are consistent with other similar research.
Index Managers Taking Note as ESG Surges: Morningstar, by Michael S. Fischer, December 8, 2017, ThinkAdvisor, USA.
More Advisers Expect Increased ESG Demand. “More than one-third, 35%, of asset managers have made the introduction of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing a high priority, and another 57% say they are placing a moderate level of priority on the task. Together, this makes for a full 92% of asset managers on the path to or considering offering ESG investing options, according to the December issue of The Cerulli Edge … U.S. Edition.”
[COMMENTARY] Finally, advisors are getting the message. Although I haven’t seen other surveys suggesting this level of interest among advisors in ESG that Cerulli has found. We’ll just have to wait for that. Nonetheless, this survey is good news for responsible-ethical investors and investments.
More Advisers Expect Increased ESG Demand, by Lee Barney, December 8, 2017, Plan Advisor, USA.
Can Index Funds Be a Force for Sustainable Capitalism? “According to my estimates for every dollar actively managed, either through high turnover diversified portfolios or through low turnover concentrated portfolios, there are three dollars in indexing or quasi-indexing. In such a market there will be tremendous rewards for market participants that can provide a differentiated service.”
[COMMENTARY] This is a great piece by Harvard’s Professor Serafeim on the way forward for ethical-ESG investing.
Can Index Funds Be a Force for Sustainable Capitalism? By George Serafeim, Harvard Business Review, December 7, 2017, USA.
DB advisers could be sued over climate change risk. “A report by environmental law firm ClientEarth states that trustees are legally required to respond to climate change risk that may have a material impact on the scheme.”
[COMMENTARY] This will come as a shocker to the many pension fund trustees who’ve argued against the inclusion of ESG criteria in pension fund management. It appears that both the EU and UK are seriously desiring to include it in some way in their pension fund management directives. It will not be long before much of the rest of the world does the same.
DB advisers could be sued over climate change risk, by Alex Warnakulasuriya, December 1, 2017, Pensions Expert, UK.
Conscious Investing: Practitioners’ views on holistic investing approaches that benefit people and the planet, by Christin ter Braak-Forstinger, Harriman House 2017.
“Now is the time to rethink growth and radically change the way of investing in order to save the planet. With her book Conscious Investing, Christin ter Braak-Forstinger provides a comprehensive guide for the societal shift towards sustainability.”—Dr. Franz Fischler, President of the European Forum Alpbach.