Financial Sector plays a pivotal role in bringing awareness and funding the ever increasing issues of sustainability.
Sustainability Finance takes into account the impact of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors along with the traditional financial returns. Environmental factors consider the mitigation of climate related issues and use of resources that are sustainable. Social factors consider the human rights, inclusion of diversity, consumer protections as well as animal rights. Governance factors consider the employee related and compliance related issues in both public and private sectors. This direction to consider the impact of ESG while making investment decisions is becoming a strong reality.
After the shock that the world went through by COVID-19 pandemic, the words ESG and Sustainability are everywhere. People have realized that developing a green and sustainable society along with making a viable economic and financial model that can cope with the limits of this planet has become the key to our survival. The awareness and focus of companies to follow strong ESG criteria has increased in the recent years to a large extent.
COVID-19 has changed the rules of the game and pushed many investors to reassess their short and long term portfolio strategies and focus more on companies with better sustainability plan making corporate responsibility a growing expectation of investors.
The old myth around ESG that it effects the asset management and returns of a company can’t be further away from reality. There is a growing evidence for increase of sustainable financial products and a link between ESG factors and financial performance of a company. The millennial generation is pushing companies to focus on climate change as they want to invest in a greener future. They are also willing to veto such organizations that do not meet their demand for sustainability. Many funds are also now considering whether business governance practices by promoting transparency, business ethics and interest of stakeholders is a key part of a company’s strategy or not.
This rapid rise in investment decisions after considering the sustainability practices has led to a demand for this niche expertise in the field of finance. Very few people currently have the expertise and relevant ESG experience. Investment banks acknowledging this rarity of talent and the growing demand for such niche investment products are willing to pay a premium for these roles. Many top B schools have also started offering master’s degree in sustainability, thus pushing sustainability finance more towards reality.
Blackrock has proposed to reach “net zero” by 2050, which will lead to a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. For a global leading investment manager to pursue such goals will play a significant role ahead. This can lead to an unprecedented opportunity for sustainable finance and maybe just truly align the world with the Paris Agreement.
This shift from large investment managers to young millennial population to drive companies and their investment decisions towards sustainability will go a long way to save our world. Every industry will now have to follow sustainable business practices to sustain in the long run and make the society cleaner, greener and socially stable.