ESG Analysis and Investing departments work together to find investment opportunities

I- Data is essential to effective sustainability, ESG, and responsible investing

Data is important to the ESG movement because it contains key ingredients.

Without proper data, investors, issuers and policy-makers can't properly quantify the effects of their decisions or choices about resource allocation.

Because of this lack of available data, as well as the limited amount of information disclosed and shared, data providers and rating agencies have historically provided information that they deemed most important.

For example, emissions data is significant for a business dealing with heavy industries, but not for a business dealing with finances.

Companies shouldn't just track their metrics, they should track their ESG metrics using frameworks and standards that exist outside of the company.

These metrics should be consistent, reliable and of high quality.

Understanding the goals of a company is crucial when gathering information about their social and environmental goals.

This is why understanding company goals is important when analyzing data. Current practices assume that ESG data needs to be interpreted and integrated with other information to provide a specific solution to a specific problem.

It's anticipated that this will be harder than simply integrating ESG data into decisions.

II- There are multiple ways to collect data on an organization’s social and environmental impacts

ESG metrics focus on the performance of companies in regard to the social, environmental and governance departments.

Creating a list of ESG measures requires selecting standard measures that should be followed by all major corporations.

This can be done by separating the measures into three categories: Governing, Environmental and Social.

Because this category is easily understood and targeted, a system already exists for tracking its impact.

Companies can measure and implement solutions such as environmentally friendly materials and practices to help reduce their ecological footprint.

They can also track the water and energy efficiency of their systems.

Meeting societal and environmental expectations ultimately affects an organization's social license to operate.

As these pressure build up, an organization's ability to do this could ultimately be affected.

Companies can become socially unacceptable when their products, business practices or brand enter the realm of negative social acceptance.

This can lead to a business model becoming unsustainable.

Solving the social and environmental issues created by current business practices is just good business.

It helps earn new customers, attract and keep talented colleagues, reduce costs, increase efficiency, and minimize risk and damage to its reputation.

Open communication with the public shows a company cares about what they have to say.

Capitalizing on new trust results in this capitalizing on value determined through dialogue.

III- Different types of data can offer different insights into an organization’s risk profile

As the field is only regulated to a limited extent, most companies self-declare, with the data framed favorably.

Companies also change what they report and how they report it from year to year.

Coupled with the limited data history in some cases, due to its relatively young lifespan, it is difficult to gather useful information.

A company's rating can vary widely depending on the rating agency.

As ratings are unregulated and can be subjective, it is not uncommon to get two ratings from different agencies that are very different on the same company.

The United States SEC has announced plans to update its disclosure rules regarding (1) climate risk, (2) human capital, including workforce diversity, board diversity, and (3) cybersecurity risk.

IV- There are a number of considerations to make when choosing which esg metrics to use

It should be kept in mind that when generating an ESG score, suppliers are often trying to quantify the intangible and difficult to measure, so the expectation of ESG scores should be realistic: this is a starting point, you get an indicator but not the whole story.

There is no standardized approach for the calculation or presentation of the various ESG measures.

Investors can use a variety of analytical approaches and data sources to address ESG considerations, including weighting based on client interest and potential value.

Understanding the leeway of different metrics can provide a more complete picture of ESG risks and opportunities.

The World Economic Forum describes the indicators as "intentionally based on existing standards, with the short-term goal of accelerating agreement among major private standard setters and bringing greater comparability and consistency to ESG reporting."

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