Responsible Investor

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RI Asia 2014 post-conference report (English)
Apr 28, 2014

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The third annual RI Asia 2014 conference was held at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on March 5-6, 2014. Over two days, 273 delegates heard high-level presentations from some of the leading figures in responsible investment and corporate sustainability, and joined in lively Q&A sessions and networking breaks. This report includes statistics showing which organisations attended, the types of companies and the level of delegates.

Doing Good and Doing Well
Mar 1, 2014

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Northern Trust: The market for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-oriented investment products has grown dramatically in recent years. Globally, ESG assets increased from US$5 trillion in 2007 to more than US$32 trillion in 2012 – equal to roughly 25% of all the world’s financial holdings1. And US-domiciled assets engaged in sustainable and responsible investment practices totaled more than USD$3.3 trillion in 2012, roughly 11% of all funds under management. Although the strict definition of an ESG-oriented product is subject to debate, it is clear there is strong upward asset momentum in this category. Investors have various motivations for incorporating ESG considerations into their portfolios. Some investors need to meet mandated environmental or social goals, others do it for reputational or political reasons, and still others may act on a belief that strong ESG companies will outperform over a long time horizon. As investors consider incorporating ESG considerations into their portfolios, a number of questions arise:
How will an ESG orientation affect the performance of the portfolio?
Will incorporating ESG criteria result in an unintended bias to specific

RI INSIGHT - Fixed Income: ESG in the world’s largest asset class
Jan 31, 2014

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Fixed income is the world’s largest asset class with government and corporate bonds accounting for some 35% of global institutional investment. But to date, bonds haven’t received the attention on material ESG factors they should have, given the importance of their allocation and the relatively long time that investors hold them for. This is changing dramatically, reflecting a number of key evaluations by institutional investors about the sustainability of bond investments.

A De-risking Toolkit for Impact Investment
Jan 27, 2014

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Bridges Ventures / BAML: The debate about a supply-demand mismatch in impact investing has often centred on its characterisation as a relatively high risk strategy and therefore on whether sufficiently high risk-adjusted financial returns are achievable. This report shifts the lens: while demonstrating a track record of sufficient financial return is one way to bring supply-and-demand into line (and is a key step forward for the impact investment industry), another approach is to adjust the risk side of the equation – to ‘de-risk’ impact investment.

10 Companies to Watch in 2014
Jan 1, 2014

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Sustainalytics: 10 Companies to Watch in 2014 collates insightful examples of companies facing risks across a range of ESG issues. The report focuses on those ESG dynamics that are expected to change the assessment and the market’s view of a company going forward and thus aid investors in uncovering hidden risks. The report also highlights a few companies moving into 2014 with positive momentum and operating ahead of the regulatory curve. These first-movers could present opportunities within their industry and for investors.

RI Americas 2013 Conference Report
Dec 19, 2013

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Read the report of the event! More than 300 investors, including over 40 asset owners attended the RI Americas conference 2013 in New York on December 10th and 11th, organised by Responsible Investor in partnership with Bloomberg.

RI INSIGHT DENMARK
Nov 25, 2013

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RI INSIGHT DENMARK: asset owner leaders in ESG and renewables is a collection of exclusive RI asset owner interviews with Denmark’s biggest pension funds: ATP, Unipension, PKA, PBU, PFA and PensionDanmark. In 2009, the Danish government allowed UN-sponsored PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) or UN Global Compact membership to represent a company’s legal corporate social responsibility requirement. It led to a significant move by Danish asset owners to sign up to the PRI, joining peers who had been at the forefront of the PRI’s genesis. Today, Denmark has 15 PRI asset owner signatories – one of the biggest country asset owner representations. RI went to Denmark to interview six of them face-to-face. Danish asset owners have been leaders in investment in renewable energy; often clubbing together on deals. They have also been at the forefront of ESG integration in their investment processes. This second RI Insight special on Denmark (following RI Insight Part 1 on Ireland’s renewable energy renaissance) looks at the ingredients that have made Denmark a leader in responsible investment, and examines what the future holds.

CDP Global Water Report 2013: a need for a step change in water risk management
Oct 31, 2013

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CDP Global Water Report 2013. This report establishes that a misguided approach to water related risk management has become entrenched as business as usual. Corporate focus is too often directed at water use, reduction, recycling or reuse, largely in direct operations only. This is an inadequate response to increasingly immediate substantive water risks threatening shareholder value. Companies must instead strive for water stewardship but a significant step change is required if stewardship is to be truly achieved. This report is written to help investors take a leading role in educating and guiding companies on the issue.

Beyond Fossil Fuels: The Investment Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment
Jul 11, 2013

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Impax makes the investment case for fossil fuel divestment. The paper looks at the building pressure to divest, dispels some of the myths around divestment and considers the un-priced risks that are accumulating in the fossil fuel sector. It goes on to analyse four alternative fossil free portfolio structures. Interestingly, investors could have substituted clean energy stocks for fossil fuel stocks without any negative impact on performance. A portfolio replacing fossil free stocks with a diversified environmental technology and research optimisation strategy would have delivered the highest returns and information ratio.

OECD: Pension Fund Investment in Infrastructure
Jul 1, 2013

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Australian and Canadian pension funds have been pioneers in infrastructure investing since the early 1990s. They also have the highest asset allocation to infrastructure around the globe today. The ‘Canadian model’ and the (new) ‘Australian model’ of infrastructure pose a challenge to the ‘private equity model’, dominant in Europe and the USA. This new paper compares and contrasts the experience of institutional investors in the two countries looking at factors such as infrastructure policies, the pension system, investment strategies and governance of pension funds. Important lessons can be learnt by both policy makers and investors. Inderst, G. and R. Della Croce (2013), “Pension Fund Investment in Infrastructure: A Comparison Between Australia and Canada”, OECD Working Papers on Finance, Insurance and Private Pensions, No. 32, OECD Publishing.

RI Europe 2013 Conference Report
Jun 21, 2013

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480 delegates over two days participated in high level debate from some of the leading responsible investment and corporate sustainability figures at the RI Europe 2013 conference at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel on June 11-12. This report provides a review of the highlights including the inaugural RI Reporting Awards.

RI INSIGHT: Ireland - Growing Green Assets
Jun 12, 2013

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In this first RI INSIGHT published by Responsible Investor with the GIFSC we examine Ireland’s initiative to establish itself as a hub for green investment, asset management, private equity, venture capital and asset servicing, under the Green International Financial Services Centre (GIFSC) banner.

RI MSCI ESG Research Round Table
May 1, 2013

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The RI/MSCI Round Table Report 2013 explores where and how ESG risk can have significant and pressing financial consequences for institutional investors. The presentations and discussion, which took place in New York, brought together a panel of noted thinkers, practitioners and academics in sustainable finance for their thoughts based broadly around a series of topical ESG themes in institutional investment. This is the second Responsible Investor / MSCI ESG Research Roundtable, the first, published in May 2012 is available to download here.

Timberland Investment Outlook: 2013-2017
Apr 24, 2013

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Timberland, along with farmland, infrastructure, and other real assets, has been growing in favour among institutional investors due to the attractive characteristics of the asset class. New Forests’ publication Timberland Investment Outlook: 2013-17 focuses on key trends in institutional investment into timberland and provides recommendations on the development of internationally diversified timberland portfolios. The report also explores key trends in the forest sector, including the international supply-demand picture, potential for new markets for biomass from forests, and the growing role of sustainability in forest management. The report is a follow-up to New Forests’ first Timberland Investment Outlook, released in 2011.

Insights on ESG Emerging Markets Investing
Apr 1, 2013

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Northern Trust, April 2013: Two big trends in institutional investing right now revolve around increasing exposure to emerging markets and environment, social and governance (ESG) screens. Allocation to emerging markets grew 30% in the last three years alone, according to research by the Ethical Investment Research Services (EIRIS).

Sovereign Debt Investing: ESG Framework and Applications
Jan 1, 2013

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AXA Investment Managers: Until a few years ago, it was rare for investors to consider environment, social and governance (ESG) factors for asset classes beyond traditional equity and corporate fixed income. Today, investors increasingly express interest in ESG analysis that can be applied to asset classes such as sovereign debt. This interest has only been amplifi ed by the euro zone crisis, which has brought the evaluation of sovereign issuers’ credit worthiness to the fore. In this research, AXA Investment Managers present two ways that investors may incorporate ESG factors into a sovereign debt portfolio using a new country ESG analysis framework.

Amity Insight - Human Rights: Human Wrongs
Jan 1, 2013

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Ecclesiastical Investment Management. Managing actual and potential human rights risk has become critical for some businesses operating in ‘high-risk, high-impact’ sectors. Globalised operations and supply chains have considerably heightened the risk, and getting it wrong can have catastrophic effects on reputation and the ‘licence to operate’. In this Amity Insight, we look at the international context for protecting and respecting human rights – and how business is affected.

Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare: 2012 Report
Jan 1, 2013

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The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare: 2012 Report assesses how 68 of the world’s largest food companies in the food retailer and wholesaler, restaurant and bar, and food producer and manufacturer sectors are managing farm animal welfare. The report concludes that most companies are at the early stages of developing their systems, processes and reporting. It also identifies some of the key barriers to corporate action on farm animal welfare, offers case-studies of companies that have already taken action, and proposes actions that investors can take to improve corporate practice on farm animal welfare.

What Does China’s Leadership Transition Mean for ESG?
Sep 30, 2012

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Sustainalytics examined the possible implications of a change in China’s leadership on environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy developments. The views and backgrounds of the incumbents will likely result in a shift in political focus that will favour certain industries and companies, shaping selected ESG risks and opportunities for investors. The report is part of a research series focused on responsible investment in Asia.

Evolving markets: what’s driving ESG in emerging economies?
Sep 1, 2012

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EIRIS: This report combines investors’ insights with data from EIRIS’ Emerging Markets Service to explore the strong currents that are carrying forward corporate performance and disclosure on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues in emerging markets. The report surveys global investors to assess what changes, if any, there have been since 2009 in the level of investment in emerging markets and in those ESG issues that interest responsible investors the most. Analysis focuses on 800 companies spread across 30 emerging economies.