As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to uproot our normal business, financial, economic and personal pursuits, questions that we could logically ask are (1) what impact does the virus crisis have on the ongoing corporate sustainability / ESG / citizenship efforts; and (2) what is the investor reaction – does the move into more sustainable / ESG investment vehicles continue?
Some answers come from Sanghamitra Saha, of Zack’s, writing in Yahoo Finance – “Here’s Why ESG ETFs Are Hot Amid Pandemic”.
Shorthand terms do matter – the “titling” of certain developments can sum up trends we should be tuning in to. Some examples for today: Sustainable Capitalism - Stakeholder Primacy – Sustainable Investing – Corporate Sustainability. Corporate ESG Performance Factors.
Since the “new world order” ushered in a new era in global trade some 30 years ago with the end of the Cold War, barriers to trade have continued to tumble. “GATT” (the “General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade” rounds of global trade talks that began in 1947) gave way to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. New rules were applied, and trade continued to become “more liberalized”. Corporate interests responded with dispersal of many their operations.
What might our world look like when the COVID-19 global emergency winds down and we move into the “recovery and restoration” phase? What is in store for business in the transition? And beyond? Looking at risk and opportunity through an ESG lens.
BNP Paribas Asset Management has offered up some important perspectives. ESG analyst Anupama Rames asks and answers: (1) Will the world go back to status quo when we exit the dis-location? (2) Probably not. “We believe,” she writes, “that the learnings from the go-remote experiment are here to stay.”
As the coronavirus infections continued to spread into every corner of the globe, the players in three societal sectors moved into action – the public sector (governments), the private sector (in the main, corporations, public and private) and what the esteemed Professor Peter Drucker identified as the “Social” sector (i.e., not-for-profits, NGOs, academics, foundations, others).
The mantra Take, Make, Dispose has been the traditional approach of many manufacturing firms over the many decades of the modern industrial revolution. (Are we in Phase One of dramatic change? Two? Three? The World Economic Forum discussions center on Phase Four – the Fourth Industrial Revolution.) And part of that is the focus on greater sustainability in industry.
The importance of the work over the past several years of the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board in developing industry-specific ESG disclosure recommendations was underscored with the recent letters to company leadership from two of the world’s leading asset management firms.
During your travels, or even going about your usual business and personal activities, do you recall the days when… Pilots remember having to use cockpit instruments when flying over large cities because the “smog” (usually thick yellow) eliminated visibility below. That was caused by belching smokestacks as dirty coal was burned for industrial use or for generating electric power.