If you’re clinging to the notion that sustainable investors want to save the world while torching their portfolios, think again. In this robust overview, adviser R. Scott Arnell argues that you can do well by your portfolio by doing good for the world. He spells out how investors are rethinking their role in economies, while also reporting that sustainably managed companies and responsibly developed projects are achieving higher returns. The bottom line, Arnell reports, is that investors from all over the world and in all asset classes are taking a much harder look at the costs of a company’s business model.
Climate change and geopolitical volatility threaten the world’s future.
Investors have begun to tackle this reality by adjusting their investment strategies to seek solutions. The first glimmers of this trend consisted of “socially conscious investing” – investors screened out companies that engaged in businesses deemed to have negative social and environmental impacts. But investors are now taking a more proactive approach. Instead of just saying no to companies that behave irresponsibly, they’re gravitating toward investments in firms that overtly tackle tough issues. This approach has spawned a new set of acronyms, such as “socially responsible investing” (SRI), a catch-all term for strategies that aim to mitigate social and environmental damage. Environmental, social and governance, or ESG, investments are based on an analysis of the metrics of a company’s impact in the world.
As SRI and ESG go mainstream, public pension funds have emerged as an important driver. Pension managers know that they work for their beneficiaries. As those beneficiaries grow more vocal about the social impacts of their investments, pension managers...
R. Scott Arnell is the founding partner of Geneva Capital SA, an alternative investment advisory firm based in Geneva, Switzerland, specializing in sustainable investment opportunities.