Brands Taking Stands™ | Investing for the Long View: ESG Looks to SDGs for Future Payoffs
THE BIG STORY
Investing for the Long View: ESG Looks to SDGs for Future Payoffs
The socially responsible investment industry is exploding. By any measure, the growth is exponential, and increasing rapidly. The reasons are straightforward: Sustainable investing is increasingly seen as a superior methodology to manage risk and drive returns.
A few numbers tell the story. Socially responsible assets under management (AUM) are estimated at $8.7 trillion as of 2016—a 33% increase from 2014. That overall total is approaching 25% of all U.S. AUM. Here’s another key figure: 75% of investors are interested in SRI, according to a report by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing. That total includes these breakouts: 84% of women and 86% of millennials.
The related, significant number is the estimated $50 trillion of wealth that will transfer to women and millennials over the next 30 years, as baby boomers pass on their assets to theirs spouses and offspring. As noted above, an overwhelming majority of these two groups are interested in SRI in its various forms, including sustainable, impact, and ESG investing.
Here’s the good news for those brands that are taking stands on social issues: investors are now actively evaluating companies for the “S” factor in their ESG (environmental, social, governance) strategies. Historically, good governance has marked a good company to invest in, and in recent years, environmental issues—from risk mitigation to profit opportunities—have become increasingly quantified and baked into balance sheets. Social purpose has been the hardest factor to define and evaluate relative to a company’s bottom line. That’s changing. Read More >
NEWS YOU CAN USE
Tech Industry Sets New Philanthropic Benchmark
The tech industry continues to be active in philanthropy that targets social problems. Whether this is a result of a “woke” moment by tech titans, an effort to shine up dimming brand reputations, or a combination of both, the commitment and sums involved clearly aim to make a difference.
The latest gesture is a substantial one: the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and his wife, MacKenzie, have committed $2 billion to fund initiatives aimed at homelessness and preschools. That considerable gift aligns with previous donations by Salesforce’s Marc Benioff of $3 million to alleviate homelessness in downtown San Francisco, the company’s headquarters—one half of that amount from Salesforce’s nonprofit unit and matched by a personal donation by Benioff and his wife, Lynne—and by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who in 2010 donated $100 million to Newark, N.J. schools. (Note: Benioff reckons his total charitable donations for all causes at $125 million.) Read More >
Sustainable Supply Chains Supported by New Leadership Platform
The question of leadership threads through business practices like never before. Managing current expectations while planning for the future now requires a vastly expanded skill set to navigate the scope and scale of a company’s activity. The need for new leadership skills is especially acute in the critical area of supply chains, those complex, globally connected operations that provide many of the goods and services we enjoy.
To help address the issue, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) has launched a corporate leadership platform to help companies address climate change through their supply chains. Mars, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company are among the first multinationals to join the initiative, which aims to improve the ability of businesses to monitor and diagnose climate risk throughout supply chains. Read More >
Ad Industry Campaigns Target Social Issues
It’s a good time to check in with the advertising industry’s “Love Has No Labels” viral campaign to combat implicit bias and promote diversity and inclusion. Launched in 2015, that effort has earned over 300 million views. The Ad Councilcredits support from corporate sponsors Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, P&G, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, State Farm, and Google for playing a major part in that success. The association has also sponsored campaigns addressing gun safety and the opioids epidemic, and is launched new campaigns this month for Girls in STEM and Teen Bullying. The enormous power of the collective global advertising industry to reach a mass audience with social messaging has earned “Love Has No Labels” its own case study: Read the full analysis here.
Appearance Alert! Meet the BTS Newsletter Editor
I’ll be attending the 3BL Forum 2018 “Brands Taking Stands™—The Long View,” Oct. 23-25 in National Harbor, M.D. The BTS Newsletter was jump-started by last year’s Forum, and this year’s edition should be even more stimulating, with panels, workshops, keynotes, and a Town Hall to discuss Brands Taking Stands -- A Moment or a Movement. I'm looking forward to in-person conversations with you, the BTS readers who are engaged with the key issues of the day through business. Join me and 400 more CSR / sustainability professionals as we listen, discuss, and learn. Click here to register.
“There are two schools of thought about becoming a CEO. One is that it’s the reward for a lifetime of hard work, you’ve arrived. The other is that it’s a huge responsibility and you are now more on the hook for your performance than you’ve ever been. I look at it like athletes who get drafted. Is it, finally, I’ve arrived and now I get to enjoy a great life, or, oh no, now if I don’t play well, I’m gonna blow it? The best athletes are the ones who have that second attitude. The best CEOs are the ones who go, “Now I feel not more negative pressure, but the pressure to do the right thing, to work really hard and to steward this opportunity.
When you see it as a reward, you just cannot embrace the things you’re supposed to do versus, ‘I’m responsible for this job so I have to do what’s necessary.’”
Patrick Lencioni, Founder, The Table Group
Excerpted from Chief Executive Network
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
David Weinstein has been named state and local policy director by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). Weinstein has been Western conservation finance director for The Trust for Public Land.
April Lecato has joined Futerra as senior sustainability strategist. Previously, she was assistant manager, global corporate citizenship and sustainability, at the Estee Lauder Companies.
Frank Cirillo has been named manager, corporate communications, by the J.M. Smucker Company. Previously, he was director of public relations at Signet.
Sally Kurtz Schiff has been appointed senior director, team member communications, at Hilton. She was previously SVP at Weber Shandwick.
Benjamin Schorr is the new senior manager, philanthropy and social impact, at Kellogg Company. He was previously global relationship manager for United Way Worldwide.