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Sustainability Archives - High Meadows Institute, Inc.

Deutsche Bank ESG Investing Conference 2016

Earlier this month, High Meadows Institute President Chris Pinney joined colleagues in the corporate and financial sectors to discuss the complexities of climate risk and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing. Deutsche Bank held its first annual ESG Investing Conference in Boston on November 1st to address the growing impacts climate change and short-termism have on businesses and investors. Hard hitting topics that were discussed throughout the day included the opportunities ESG integration presents investors in uncertain times, what the transition to a clean energy economy could look like for companies and communities, and what the ESG investment space is…

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Mainstreaming ESG in Capital Markets: Time for Industry Leadership

To date, the sustainability and social responsibility agenda for the corporate and financial sectors has been driven largely by external stakeholders. Previously this was characterized primarily by boycotts and campaigns against business organized by activists. Today, there is a much greater focus on engaging with business, seen through multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), which are focused on creating frameworks, standards and metrics for companies and investment managers to demonstrate that they are managing responsibly. While these initiatives have played a critical role in getting environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues…

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Will 2016 be a tipping point for ESG integration in capital markets?

What a difference a year can make. When HMI finished a survey on the current state of play of ESG integration in global capital markets last spring, it seemed clear that the incentive systems needed to drive true environmental, social and governance (ESG) integration in mainstream capital markets, particularly in the US, were a long way off. While the efforts of UNPRI, SASB and the many other SRI programs are to be noted, our research showed that in reality these initiatives alone are insufficient to drive significant change for most mainstream asset owners and managers. As we start 2016, there…

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Defining Sustainability

How often have we heard the words “what do you mean by sustainability?” Perhaps it avoids definition because sustainability applies to so many facets of our lives, to so many business or organizational strategies, to so many approaches we might take to moving to desirable outcomes. Does the notion of sustainability have a time period attached to it? One that says if you can keep something up for a certain amount of time you have crossed the threshold of sustainability?  In the world of environmental policy, sustainability has come to mean that if an organization is not meeting certain environmental…

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Miles to go Before We Sleep

The UNPRI conference in Montreal last week demonstrated that while progress is being made, there is still a long way to go before sustainability will be fully embraced by mainstream investors. Among the key challenges identified during the conference were: Incentives— PRI’s Managing Director Fiona Reynolds said that only 6% of asset owners committed to the UNPRI report that their performance management and compensation systems for senior executives include metrics that recognize and reward sustainability. As she noted, “What gets measured gets managed. If responsible investment is to become truly mainstream, it must start at the very top of every…

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Can Sustainability Help Companies Outperform?

In recent years, the perception that companies that integrate sustainability in their corporate strategy and operations will do so at the cost of financial performance has finally been put to rest.  As a recent study by mainstream investment advisory firm RBC Asset Managers concludes, investors “can pursue a program of socially responsible investing with the expectation that investment returns will be similar to traditional investment options.” The real challenge in attracting mainstream investor interest in sustainability, however, is not to simply prove that sustainability is not a drag on financial performance, but rather that it enables companies to financially outperform…

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