Given the global challenges the world faces, including poverty, healthcare, inequalities and climate change, businesses are coming under increasing pressure to review how they operate and become more sustainable.
Our Sustainable Investing brochure has been introduced in response to client demand. Many of our clients want to invest sustainably and understand how fund managers consider environmental, social and governance factors when assessing investment opportunities.
What is Sustainable or ESG investing?
ESG investing involves considering environmental, social and governance factors alongside financial considerations when assessing investment opportunities.
It offers the potential to invest in ways that reflect the values that are important to our clients by using investment solutions that aim to take related ESG characteristics into account.
It may be referred to by other terms such as socially responsible investing, sustainable investing, impact investing, or values-based investing.
Increased interest in ESG investing
According to the Make My Money Matter campaign, 68% of UK savers want their investments to consider people and planet as well as profit. For more information about the campaign read Simon Prestcote – What is the Make My Money Matter campaign.
Lonsdale Wealth Management clients interested in sustainable investing
Our Lonsdale Wealth Management independent advisers have more clients asking about sustainable investing. Clients from all generations are interested in investing sustainably, so providing the Lonsdale Services Sustainable Investing brochure is the first step to assisting clients achieve their sustainable goals. For more information read the article by Richard Porter -Does your IFA offer investments that ‘do good’ for society?
How can fund managers invest sustainably?
When fund managers (acting on behalf of the investors investing in their funds) are deciding which companies to invest in they may search out and include companies based on their ESG characteristics.
Environmental factors refer to how companies are performing in their stewardship of the environment, for example:
- Carbon footprint
- Energy consumption
- Greenhouse gas emissions
Social factors consider how companies are manage relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the areas where they operate, for example:
- Human rights and social justice
- Working conditions and employee relations
- Health and safety standards
Governance factors focus on company leadership. For example:
- Board diversity, structure and pay
- Avoidance of bribery and corruption
- Management & culture
Sustainable funds set up to follow the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
It is five years since the United Nations adopted its Agenda 2030 that set out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) that 193 countries agreed to follow in order to tackle a variety of challenges the world now faces. The ambitious goals were introduced to protect the planet, encourage inclusion but also prosperity. Although the SDG’s were originally designed for countries and businesses to follow, many sustainable investment funds use the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a basis for their investment process, as the UN SDG’s encourage many investment themes that include sustainable trends like targeting gender equality, health, education, climate action. For more information read our article – How important are the UN Sustainable Goals for investing?
The development of ESG investing
The United Nations (UN) agenda for sustainable development have been one of the driving forces behind the concept of ESG investing. The UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) are 17 high level goals to transform the world by 2030. They cover a broad range of issues such as quality education, decent work and economic growth, climate action, affordable and clean energy and good health and well-being.
These goals are inevitably feeding through to businesses and the investments landscape. Some fund managers refer directly to relevant SDGs as a way of explaining how the companies they invest in contribute to these goals. You can read more about the UN SDGs at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/SDG_Guidelines_AUG_2019_Final.pdf
ESG investing – approaches and strategies
There are a range of ESG investment approaches and strategies that fund managers may use within their funds. There is no exhaustive list of ESG investments, a fund manager may use a range or combination of approaches within their fund. Here are some of the most common approaches:
Responsible Ownership / Stewardship
Fund managers use their position as an investor to encourage the companies they invest in to improve their ESG practices – for example by holding meetings with senior management and voting at AGMs.
Fund managers consider ESG issues as part of their investment research and decision making
Exclusions prohibit certain investments from a firm, fund or portfolio. Exclusions may be applied on a variety of issues. Examples include: ethical, values-based or religious exclusions, avoiding armaments, tobacco, gambling companies and those with poor social or environmental practices.
Fund managers select and include investments that fulfil certain sustainability criteria and/or deliver on specific and measurable sustainability outcomes.
Investments are made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.
Taking ESG preferences into account when offering independent financial advice
Richard Porter, Lonsdale Wealth Management independent financial adviser in St Albans Hertfordshire said:
‘Before making any investment recommendations to you, we must consider a range of factors, including your personal circumstances, financial goals and objectives, how much risk you are prepared to accept in an investment product and how much of a fall in the value of your investments you could withstand. Where you have expressed a preference for sustainable investing, we will take your preferences into account when making our financial advice recommendations, and hope that we can offer a suitable sustainable product or investment that meets those preferences. However, please remember that your needs and circumstances may mean that certain ESG investment approaches may not be suitable. At Lonsdale Wealth Management we believe it is really important to work with investment managers who have experience and a proven track record of delivering on their promises. Our due-diligence processes help identify fund managers who we believe are able to support both socio-economic development and sustainable business practices, whilst generating strong and consistent returns for clients.’
Richard Porter, Lonsdale Wealth Management independent financial adviser in St Albans Hertfordshire continued:
‘If you would like to discuss sustainable investing in more detail our financial advisers offer an initial financial consultation. This is a chance to speak to one of our local financial advisers about your own personal financial circumstances. We will explain our charging structure to you and provide details about our cashflow planning service. For more information, please complete our booking consultation form and one of our advisers will contact you shortly. Alternatively, please contact your local Lonsdale Wealth Management financial adviser for more information.’
ESG investing is growing in popularity and many fund management companies offer sustainable investing options. For more information on sustainable investing please contact us on 01727 845500.
Please note: The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest.