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Sustainable investing is an investment discipline that considers environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive community impact.

Client Centered



Sustainable investing provides a mechanism for customers to align their personal values with their investment objectives and choose investment products that are meaningful to them.



Environmental

Environmental

The environmental component requires research into a variety of elements that illustrate a company's impact on the Earth, in both positive and negative ways. 

Evaluating a corporation's environmental record could include:

  • Climate change policies, plans, and disclosures.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions goals, and transparency into how the company is meeting those goals.
  • Carbon footprint and carbon intensity (pollution and emissions).
  • Water-related issues and goals, such as usage, conservation, overfishing, and waste disposal.
  • Usage of renewable energy including wind and solar.
  • Recycling and safe disposal practices.
  • Green products, technologies, and infrastructure.
  • Environmental benefits for employees such as cycling programs and environmental-based incentives.
  • Relationship and past history with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other environmental regulatory bodies.
Social

Social

The social component consists of people-related elements like company culture and issues that impact employees, customers, consumers, and suppliers -- both within the company and in greater society. 

Evaluating a corporation's social record could include:

  • Employee treatment, pay, benefits, and perks.
  • Employee engagement and staff turnover/churn.
  • Employee training and development.
  • Employee safety policies including sexual harassment prevention.
  • Diversity and inclusion in hiring and in awarding advancement opportunities and raises.
  • Ethical supply chain sourcing, such as conflict-free minerals and responsibly sourced food and coffee.
  • Mission or higher purpose of the business (or lack thereof).
  • Consumer friendliness, customer service responsiveness, and history of consumer protection issues including lawsuits, recalls, and regulatory penalties.
  • Public stance on social justice issues, as well as lobbying efforts.
Governance

Governance

The corporate governance component relates to the board of directors and company oversight, as well as shareholder-friendly versus management-centric attitude. ESG investors analyze how corporate managements and boards relate to different stakeholders, how the business is run, and whether the corporate incentives align with the business's success.  

Governance topics include:

  • Executive compensation, bonuses, and perks.
  • Compensation tied to metrics that drive long-term business value, not short-term EPS growth.
  • Whether executives are entitled to golden parachutes (huge bonuses upon exit).
  • Diversity of the board of directors and management team.
  • Board of director composition regarding independence and interlocking directorates -- which can indicate conflicts of interest.
  • Proxy access.
  • Whether a company has a classified board of directors.
  • Whether chairman and CEO roles are separate.
  • Transparency in communicating with shareholders, and history of lawsuits brought by shareholders.
  • Relationship and history with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulatory bodies.


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All investing involves risks of fluctuating prices and the uncertainties of rates of return and yield inherent in investing. All security transactions involve substantial risk of loss.  Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Risk has factors that may cause the portfolio to forgo certain investment opportunities and/or exposures to certain industries, sectors or regions.