What makes an investment socially responsible?
ESG analysis is the underlying factor in virtually all SRI strategies. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities are the criteria from which a set of standards is created to allow socially conscious and sustainable investors to screen investments.
A company must consider its contributions to broad environmental factors such as:
- Climate Change
- Energy Use
- Wasting Materials
- Damage to Forests
- Harm to Wildlife and their habitats
Social criteria are used as as a way for investors to evaluate a company’s stance on:
- Human Rights
- Political Matters
- Community Engagement
- Commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of its workers and community at large
- Labor/employee relations
- Policies and practices on using child or forced labor
Risk and opportunity factors taken into consideration include a company’s:
- Business Ethics
- Board Structure and Independence
- Diversity of Leadership
- Representation of women and minorities on governing boards and in executive-level positions
- Companies managed in ethically responsible manners
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The data shows that profit and sustainability can coincide when it comes to investments. In fact, there are some distinct upsides to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing.
Egèa SRI is a fee-only fiduciary firm. A fiduciary is a person or firm who acts for clients and is required to put their best interests first at all times. RIAs are required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the states in which they do business in, depending on how much in assets they manage.[i] In either case, they are held to the fiduciary standard to act in clients’ best interests.
ESG, SRI, Green and Sustainable are often used interchangeably; however, these investment approaches are each slightly different:
Socially Responsible Investing:
Socially responsible investing is thought to have started with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in 1758 when the Quaker Philadelphia Yearly Meeting prohibited members from participating in buying or selling humans as part of the slave trade. One of the early adopters was Methodist founder John Wesley, whose sermon “The Use of Money” outlined his basic tenets of social investing: not to harm your neighbor through your business practices and to avoid industries like tanning and chemical production, which can harm the health of workers.
In general, SRI investors encourage corporate practices that are morally grounded and promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights, and racial or gender diversity. For example, some socially responsible investors avoid investing in businesses perceived to have negative social effects such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography, weapons, and fossil fuel production. Essentially, for socially responsible investors morality trumps the bottom line.
As a blanket investment term, sustainability has become a catch-all for a company’s efforts to “do better” or “do good.” This investment approach is best defined by the three pillars of sustainability: economic growth, environmental protection, and social progress, also referred to as “people, planet, and profits.” In a nutshell, sustainable investing directs capital to companies fighting climate risk and environmental destruction, while promoting corporate responsibility. Sustainable investors, ranging from global institutions to individuals, utilize a combination of traditional investment approaches together with ESG insights to pursue their investment goals. Sustainable investing seeks to find companies that are positioned to grow while also doing good and pioneering better business practices. This approach blends a focus on return with a desire to do good.
Green investing, sometimes also known as eco-investing, is a practice where investors use their investment dollars to back businesses and other enterprises that are eco-friendly. These may be companies that implement green policies in their day-to-day operation or firms that are specifically committed to implementing conservation, developing renewable energy sources, educating the public about green initiatives, and more. Green investing is a subset of a wider investment strategy called socially responsible investing, or SRI. As its name suggests, SRI is a tactic where investors allocate their assets to support endeavors that line up with their personal belief systems, particularly in areas like sustainability and social justice. All of these practices are also sometimes known as impact investing, in that they’re investments with goals including making some sort of external impact on global or social issues.
In contrast, ESG focuses on three specific, foundational pillars that are crucial to today’s corporate management and investors alike. Environmental issues can include pollution, climate risk, exposure to extreme weather, carbon management, and use of scarce resources. Social issues can include product safety, human rights, worker safety, customer data protection, and diversity and inclusion. Governance issues can include factors such as accounting standards compliance, succession planning, anti-competitive behavior, and a strong ESG management process. ESG data and metrics are used to gain insights into the success and value of a company’s performance and policies in order to mitigate risk and identify superior risk-adjusted returns. Essentially, the focus of ESG investing is on increasing the bottom line through investments in responsible companies that are being well managed
The word Egéa is derived from the Greek goddess of health.
For the health of the planet.
For the health of society.
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