Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG): A Hot Topic for Investors

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG): A Hot Topic for Investors

August 05, 2021

In 2020 and continuing through today, there has been an explosion both in interest in and offerings of ESG investing.

First of all, what is “ESG” investing? ESG investing is defined as making investment decisions considering certain factors in addition to more traditional financial factors. The additional factors are:

E – Environmental

S – Social

G – Governance

Some examples of focus in each category are:

  • Environmental: climate change, sustainability, energy efficiency, and water use.
  • Social: working conditions, labor practices, equal opportunities, diversity, and equity.
  • Governance: executive pay, board independence, transparency, and corruption.

There are investors who gravitate towards specific companies (or mutual funds or exchange traded funds) because they want their investments to be consistent with their own personal values, either to “do no harm” or to promote a certain cause or world view. For example, it is possible to buy a mutual fund that avoids gun companies or one that invests in companies that promote clean energy technology.

Increasingly, we have been hearing from investment managers that have created funds that screen for companies that as a way to potentially reduce risk and enhance return. They are making the case that these screens should be considered even by investors whose sole purpose is financial performance.

Why? Consider how a manager might evaluate companies with a strong governance rating versus companies with a lower governance rating, as determined by how independent the board is. A company with an independent board could make it known that they plan to take an active role in guiding that company towards avoiding regulatory and reputational risk that could negatively impact share price in the short and the long term.

Many investors agree. According to Morningstar, net investments into ESG funds outpaced flows into non-ESG funds for the first 6 months of 2021. (Source: July 22, 2021. Morningstar.com “Funds Flows 2021” Holly Black and Bhavik Parekh).

Up Next: How do we see ESG at Arthur Stein Financial?

This is for educational purposes only. To learn more about the topics mentioned and if they are suitable for you, consult an appropriate professional. Tax laws can change at any time.

Any information provided in this presentation has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision. Any information provided is for information purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation.

Arthur Stein and Arthur Stein Financial, LLC are not authorized to give legal or tax advice. For information on your specific situation, please consult your tax advisor regarding any tax implications and your attorney for legal implications. As required by the US Treasury Regulations, you should be aware that this presentation is not intended to be used and it cannot be used for the purposes of avoiding penalties under federal tax laws.

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