McKinsey: Sustainable investing as the new normal
More institutional investors recognize environmental, social, and governance factors as drivers of value. The key to investing effectively is to integrate these factors across the investment process.
Sustainable investing has come a long way. More than one-quarter of assets under management globally are now being invested according to the premise that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors can materially affect a company’s performance and market value. The institutional investors that practice sustainable investing now include some of the world’s largest, such as the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) of Japan, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), and the Dutch pension fund ABP.
The techniques used in sustainable investing have advanced as well. While early ethics-based approaches such as negative screening remain relevant today, other strategies have since developed. These newer strategies typically put less emphasis on ethical concerns and are designed instead to achieve a conventional investment aim: maximizing risk-adjusted returns.
Many institutional investors, particularly in Europe and North America, have now adopted approaches that consider ESG factors in portfolio selection and management. Others have held back, however. One common reason is that they believe sustainable investing ordinarily produces lower returns than conventional strategies, despite research findings to the contrary.