Pay equity audits and the results of those audits may be required by various regulations and, in some cases, made available to the public for review. The three concepts of social, environmental and corporate governance are intimately linked to the concept of Responsible Investment. RI began as a niche investment area, serving the needs of those who wished to invest but wanted to do so within ethically defined parameters.
In recent years it has become a much larger proportion of the investment market. One of the defining marks of the modern investment market is the divergence in the relationship between the firm and its equity investors. Insurance companies, Mutual Funds and Pension Funds with long-term payout obligations are much more interested in the long term sustainability of their investments than the individual investor looking for short-term gain.
Based on the belief that addressing ESG issues  will protect and enhance portfolio returns, responsible investment is rapidly becoming a mainstream concern within the institutional industry. By late , over a third of institutional investors commonly referred to as LPs based in Europe and Asia-Pacific said that ESG considerations played a major or primary role in refusing to commit to a private equity fund, while the same is true for a fifth of North American LPs.
The Equator Principles is a risk management framework, adopted by financial institutions, for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in project finance. It is primarily intended to provide a minimum standard for due diligence to support responsible risk decision-making.
The Equator Principles, formally launched in Washington DC on 4 June , were based on existing environmental and social policy frameworks established by the International Finance Corporation. These standards have subsequently been periodically updated into what is commonly known as the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards on social and environmental sustainability and on the World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines.
Asset managers and other financial institutions increasingly rely on ESG ratings agencies to assess, measure and compare companies' ESG performance. The first ten years of the new century has seen a vast growth in the ESG defined investment market. Not only do most of the world's big banks now have departments and divisions exclusively addressing Responsible Investment but boutique firms specialising in advising and consulting on environmental, social and governance related investments are proliferating.
One of the major aspects of the ESG side of the insurance market which leads to this tendency to proliferation is the essentially subjective nature of the information on which investment selection can be made. By definition ESG data is qualitative; it is non-financial and not readily quantifiable in monetary terms. The investment market has long dealt with these intangibles — such variables as Goodwill have been widely accepted as contributing to a company's value. But the ESG intangibles are not only highly subjective they are also particularly difficult to quantify and more importantly verify.
One of the major issues in the ESG area is disclosure.
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Environmental risks created by business activities have actual or potential negative impact on air, land, water, ecosystems, and human health. The information on which an investor makes his decisions on a financial level is fairly simply gathered. The company's accounts can be examined, and although the accounting practices of corporate business are coming increasingly into disrepute after a spate of recent financial scandals, the figures are for the most part externally verifiable.
With ESG considerations, the practice has been for the company under examination to provide its own figures and disclosures. As integrating ESG considerations into investment analysis and the calculation of a company's value become more prevalent it will become more crucial to provide units of measurement for investment decisions on subjective issues such as degrees of harm to workers, or how far down the supply chain of the production chain of a cluster bomb do you go.
One of the solutions put forward to the inherent subjectivity of ESG data is the provision of universally accepted standards for the measurement of ESG factors. Such organisations as the ISO International Organisation for Standardisation provide highly researched and widely accepted standards for many of the areas covered. The corporate governance side of the matter has received rather more in the way of regulation and standardisation as there is a longer history of regulation in this area.
The conclusions that the commission reached were compiled in into the Combined Code on Corporate Governance which has been widely accepted if patchily applied by the financial world as a benchmark for good governance practices. In the interview for Yahoo! This also includes providing information on how they operate and manage social and environmental challenges.
The aim is to help investors, consumers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to evaluate the non-financial performance of large companies. Ultimately, the Directive encourages European companies to develop a responsible approach to business". One of the key areas of concern in the discussion as to the reliability of ESG disclosures is the establishment of credible ratings for companies as to ESG performance. There is some movement in the insurance market to find a reliable index of ratings for ESG issues, with some suggesting that the future lies in the construction of algorithms for calculating ESG ratings based on ISO standards and third party verification.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Local Global. Governance, risk management and compliance. Environmental, social and corporate governance.
Main article: Environmental governance. See also: Institutional investors.
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Main article: Equator Principles. Companies that adopted environmental, social and governance policies in the s have outperformed those that didn't" , The Guardian , 6 January page visited on 28 January Sullivan Foundation". Archived from the original on 19 June Retrieved 11 November Archived from the original on 24 September Retrieved 10 October Retrieved 30 October PRI Signatories.
Archived from the original on 21 September Retrieved 5 February Retrieved 27 April Retrieved 30 November Harvard Law School. Retrieved 13 September Applied to ESG Scores". Retrieved 28 May Retrieved 15 November FX Empire. Retrieved 20 June Advocates for International Development.
Archived from the original PDF on 12 December Retrieved 15 August Social and environmental accountability. Environment portal Category Commons Organizations. Sustainable development portal Business and economics portal.
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The employees get involved with various events, a non-uniform day, a raffle and a cake stall. An amount of cash is raised and a representative from the charity visits the company to accept a cheque.
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The staff will appreciate the fact that their employer cares enough about a charity to put on such an event. The event may make the local paper, TV news or at least be talked about in the local community, putting the business in a positive light locally. This type of CSR is implemented primarily for the affect it will have on the business.
The types of act involved could be quite varied, depending on the outcome desired, and may be initiated as a direct result of an external issue.
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Let us look at examples to show causes and response strategies…. In response the company implements energy saving measures throughout the business and releases a press release detailing these actions. In addition they have a high-profile opening day for a small community recycling centre on their land. They invite a celebrity to open it. They receive some good publicity as planned. Staff turnover is high, morale is low. In response, the business holds a consultation with all staff members, everyone is included, from the work experience girl, to the cleaner, to the CEO. This helps the staff to feel that at least their needs are being listened to.
As a result some changes are implemented. A gym is installed for staff to use during their lunchtimes and flexible working times are planned for future implementation, allowing staff to more easily deal with family commitments. The business is worried that they are not getting enough highly skilled applicants for job vacancies. Looking at the long term future of the business, the company sponsors scholarships at a local college for a student to study relevant skills, with the offer of a work placement at the company.
An investment in education now, could pay off well in the future.