ESG – The new wave of investing

ESG – The new wave of investing

ESG – The new wave of investing 150 150 Andrew Gratton and Kathy Havers

There’s no denying that ESG factors are having a huge impact on the way we live our lives. Over the last few years, Environmental, Social and Governance factors (ESG) have also transcended into the investment world, with 58% of Viridian clients considering sustainable investments to be important. It’s become clear that investors are now growing more concerned with how and where their money is invested, and businesses are more conscious of how their choices impact the world around them.

ESG is not something new and has actually been around for decades! ESG’s, which were previously seen as a ‘nice to have’, are now becoming more prominent in the way businesses operate as more importance is placed on the outside perception of those companies.

Up until this point we haven’t seen the true flow of capital away from businesses that have had some questionable ‘E’,’S’ or ‘G’ practices. Yet, it’s clear that there is a much greater focus on this than ever and a growing sense of discontent with businesses that continue to have a disregard for their actions. This is coupled with a continued emergence of businesses and investments that focus on impact alongside shareholder returns, making it more difficult for a business to hide in the shadows if they come up short in any of those key ESG areas.

The Viridian community continue to take actions to define what ESG and Sustainability means to our business and stakeholders:

  • Infinity Asset Management have completed due diligence on some alternative managers that focus on sustainability to be used by advisors. We’re also working on a private assets fund which will have allocations to some of these managers, as well as others.
  • Infinity Asset Management consider sustainability and write a sustainability thesis for all funds and companies in their SMAs
  • A focus on business sustainability through the appointment of Michael Ehrentraut as Chief Sustainability Officer.
  • Viridian Portfolio Management continues to offer its clients the ability to tailor their portfolios based on ESG preferences as well as having the same ESG research oversight as our core equity portfolios.
  • The Viridian Foundation and Community program which focus on raising funds and supporting charities in need through volunteering and donations.

Although we are pushing in the right direction, we are still in the infancy stage of implementing ESG into Viridian, but we firmly believe that with a continued push from the whole business we can continue to define what Viridian’s legacy should be in the ESG and Sustainability movement.

Kathy Havers is an Executive Advisor, and Andrew Gratton is a Portfolio Manager at Viridian Advisory.

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