ESG to Infinity and Beyond - Cameron Hume

The means to integrate ESG strategies systematically is now at hand. This is allowing more asset owners and their managers to improve their stewardship activities.

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ESG is an acronym for a portmanteau of concerns. In the wake of the GFC, regulators worried that investment analysis was blinkered, focusing too narrowly on financial measures, turning a blind eye to issues of governance and ignoring off-balance sheet risks. At the same time, the perception that the GFC was caused by the amoral actions of banks and financial analysts led to a resurgence of interest in portfolios that reflected investors’ moral convictions.

These various concerns, although referred to collectively as ESG , were only loosely related. Lacking a common purpose, the ESG movement spawned a terminological zoo: styles of investment being variously and enthusiastically described as ‘Responsible’, ‘Sustainable’ or ‘Ethical’; and investment objectives ranging from ‘Doing Well by doing Good’, through ‘Impact’ to pure philanthropy.

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