ESG: What You Should Be Writing About To Clients

This story is from our monthly newsletter that offers communications insights, and hopefully, some amusing diversion.

Here are ESG topics you should be writing to clients about:

  1. Are ESG and Index Investing Compatible?  The stable approach and precision of index investing has been disrupted by ESG mandates and preferences.  This article explores if they are mutually exclusive or compatible.   
  2. ESG’s Fall From Grace and Your Investment Strategy.  Gradually, ESG has become if not a dirty word, then certainly a controversial one.  The article explores whether this phenomenon is the end of ESG or an evolution.   
  3. Don’t Forget,  ESG Is Baked Into Many Corporate Operations.  Whether or not a third party is designating a company ESG compliant, companies are still addressing the issues.  They have to protect their bottom lines.  The divergence between corporate operations and how this data is consumed by third-party providers can disadvantage investors.  
  4. If You Really Want The Truth, Consider Impact Weighted Accounting.  This nascent field of accounting backed by Harvard University, sheds light on costs that companies impose on others to earn a profit for their shareholders.  
  5. ESG Standards Apply To Credit Too.  In many ways, determining if a bond offering meets ESG standards is much easier than analyzing equities.  But the analysis varies significantly across the credit spectrum from munis to sovereigns, to corporates and structureds.
  6. Does ESG End With Global Equities? Accounting standards by FASB and IFRS make global investing possible.  ESG needs the same infrastructure to support global ESG-compliant portfolios.  
  7. Don’t Forget the S and the G.  Environmental issues have been the big driver of ESG investing.  But as politics and business converge, social and governance issues require urgent attention too.  
  8. Who Should Be Cops?  Insurance Industry, Banks, Capital Markets.  Pushback against ESG is often predicated on the notion that the purpose of business is to maximize profits.  This does not always align with constructive precedents.   
  9. Solar Farm v. Coal Fired Plant:  Which is Greener?  Ownership structures, not necessarily discrete operations determine ESG adherence.  Comparisons and a methodology are offered.  
  10. Have ESG Fund Performance Been Given Enough Time?  Conventional wisdom tells investors that the most important ingredient for success is patience.  Have ESG-focused investments been given enough time?  
  11. Thanks To ESG, Proxy Fights Are Real Fights.  The political divide has found its way into the SEC, which adopted proxy amendments late last year doesn’t undermine the process.  It does however put a bright light on who votes and how, presaging future conflict.  
  12. You Are Greenwashing If . . . Greenwashing comes in two forms:  witting and unwitting.  There’s no stopping the former, but there is a way to combat the latter.  

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