Discussing ESG priorities with the US investor community

Goldhub blog

Discussing ESG priorities with the US investor community

Hannah Brandstaetter
ESG Programme Director
World Gold Council

Posted:

Last month we participated in the Responsible Asset Owners Global Symposium. We have been a supporter of this event series since its inception in 2019 as it brings together leading investors to tackle important topics around the ESG agenda within the investment community.

This year, for the first time, there was an Americas edition of this event and we were delighted to contribute in multiple ways.

Jane Nelson, the founding Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative and Board Director at Newmont gave a key note which was titled Accelerating the sustainability transition – The leadership role of responsible asset.

Jane spoke about the challenges we are faced with when it comes to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and net-zero by 2050. She spoke about the leadership role financial institutions can take on and argued that the race to net-zero and race to reliance, respecting human rights and commitment to diversity equity and inclusion and more rigorous data collection, analysis and reporting and public disclosure and accountability are the three pillars that determine responsible asset ownership.

In addition, Joan Hull, our Institutional Relationship Manager spoke to Hortense Bioy, Director Passive Strategies & Sustainability Research at Morningstar as part of a fireside chat about Shedding light on ESG and index providers.

According to Morningstar data, global Assets Under Management in ESG funds has grown from approx. $600 billion three years ago to $2 trillion today.

Joan spoke to Hortense about the increasing concern over a lack of consensus on what constitutes an ESG fund as well as the different ways index providers compile an index and assign an ESG score to a company.

They also spoke about how ESG investing has evolved in different parts of the world- from definitions to adoption and how should investors think about climate when they pick investments?

Lastly, our Climate Change Lead, John Mulligan, moderated a panel discussion which looked at Emerging Market opportunities built on ESG Investing. He was joined by Ricardo Torresi, Zurich Insurance, Egon Vavrek, APG Asset Management and Suzanne Bishopric, Managing Partner, Global Sovereign Advisors.

The panel discussed its priorities when it comes to E, S and G, and how Covid-19 changed priorities as well as how investors around the world are looking to the ‘European model’ when it comes to regulations and what might be to come for investors outside of Europe and the panel’s perspective on harmonisation of ESG standards and frameworks.

There clearly continues to be increased interest from the asset owner community around responsible investing. As this event showed, this interest not only comes from “ESG-orientated funds” but instead from a broad range of asset owners and managers, across the globe, who are considering how to incorporate ESG factors into their investment process. We are pleased to continue to partner with the Responsible Asset Owner Global Symposium to encourage responsible investing and to show how gold can play an important role in an “ESG-aware” investment portfolio.

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