Sustainability has, over time, become a key concern for the majority of people around the world, including investors. Today, many investors are integrating ESG- Environmental, Social, and Governance- factors in their investment decision. And as a ripple effect, more companies are investing their time in ESG initiatives to align with investors, customers, and even employees’ interests.
So, what does ESG integration look like?
Here is what an ESG integration framework consists of, as well as why investing in ESG companies or funds is a great idea:
What is ESG integration?
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) integration involves incorporating relevant ESG criteria in investment decisions to generate favorable long-term client outcomes. So, a fund manager typically considers ESG factors, among other issues, to gauge whether certain stocks are worth putting money into.
So, What Does an ESG Integration Framework Include?
When it comes to ESG integration, there is really no hardline regulation or a one-size-fits-all framework. Typically, an investment manager will do their research to get relevant data and draw insights from it to come up with a framework.
However, in May 2022, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) came up with a rule proposing some form of standardization for ESG funds and other investment products currently in the market. The proposal aims to increase transparency in a market that has become vulnerable to misleading marketing campaigns.
Most of the ideals contained within are geared toward increasing company disclosures regarding ESG impact. The proposal further breaks down ESG investment strategies into ESG integration, ESG-focused, and Impact.
Still, the SEC has not defined what counts as ESG integration. So, companies, funds, and ESG advisers define their ESG framework.
Typically, an ESG fund does not need to consider all ESG criteria in every decision. It may include companies with one or more environmental themes like pollution, waste management, climate change, etc. Or social issues such as labor rights, inclusivity, diversity, or data security. Or even corporate governance issues. An ESG framework may include one or more of these issues.
ESG elements considered material will depend on the industry, market trends, investment style, and client goals.
Why have an ESG integration framework as an investor?
ESG integration should be among your key considerations when investing with a long-term mindset. Among the key benefits of ESG to investors include:
- Better returns on your portfolio: ESG-integrated portfolios typically perform better over time and can brave market turmoil. Moreover, they will likely soar as ESG gains more popularity.
- Contribution to the betterment of the world: with ESG, you can invest not just for financial gain but also to make a difference in the world. Pick investments that align with your cause or that consider a variety of ESG issues.
- Reduced risk as you invest in strong, ethical companies: investing in ethical, transparent companies significantly reduces your risk.
In Summary: Consider ESG When Investing for Long-Term Portfolio Growth
Most investors today are more educated on how the market works and so invest a lot more time in making investment decisions. If you are looking for more than healthy returns, incorporating ESG is a great place to start. Remember, there’s no one rule defining ESG integration, and the process can be personalized.