What is ESG Investing
Many people think that ESG investing is simply investing in companies that are more environmentally friendly than a typical company. ESG actually represents more than just sustainable environmental factors. ESG is short for Environmental, Social, and Governance. Companies are assigned scores based on how well they implement policies that excel in these three areas.
The environmental factor is straightforward. A company with a high environmental rating will display sustainability practices as to not harm the environment, as well as being proactive on issues such as climate change. A company that scores well in the Social factor would exhibit diversity throughout the company, as well as be outspoken on social issues such as human rights and animal welfare. Corporate governance is probably the least well-known factor of the three. Corporate governance reflects how a company is structured. A company that scores well on this factor would exemplify responsible executive compensation and/or above average employee compensation.
Socially Responsible Investing; How do they Differ?
Many people often think ESG and SRI investing are synonymous, but there are some key differences between the two investing styles. First, ESG is a scoring system. Companies are graded on how well they embody the three factors that were discussed in the prior paragraph. SRI uses screens to filter out companies that exhibit certain qualities. For example, if you wanted to own a fund that didn’t own any companies that relied on fossil fuels, this would be an SRI fund. SRI funds can also screen-in companies that engage in a variety of ESG and SRI factors, such as environmental sustainability.,
How to Invest in an ESG Portfolio
According to the 2018 Report on U.S. Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends, there was over $12 trillion invested in SRI and ESG strategies in the U.S. alone. This number is only expected to grow over the next decade. The easiest way to implement an ESG portfolio is by using mutual funds and ETFs. Mutual funds that are dedicated to ESG investing have an ESG mandate, meaning they can only select companies that score highly on the ESG scale. These ESG mutual funds typically have higher expense ratios than non-ESG funds due to the extensive screening process. ETFs are a more cost-effective way to invest, as they track various indices. There are now over 1,000 unique ESG indices.
Sharkey, Howes, Javer has ESG portfolios available to clients. If you would like to learn more about ESG investing and how you can implement a socially-conscious portfolio, please contact us or call 303-639-5100