Why is ESG so popular? A look at the trend that’s here to stay

Today we wanted to answer a question we get asked a lot – namely “Why is ESG so popular?” Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing is an investment approach that considers not only the financial performance of a company but also its impact on the environment, society, and governance practices. The idea is that by taking these factors into account, investors can make more informed decisions and select companies that align with their values.

So why is ESG so popular? ESG investing has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more investors looking to incorporate these factors into their investment decisions. This is partly due to increased awareness of the impact that companies can have on the environment and society, and partly due to the growing evidence that companies with strong ESG performance are more likely to outperform their peers over the long term.

Why is ESG so popular? ESG Investing Statistics

The growth of ESG investing can be seen in the numbers. According to a report by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, the total amount of professionally managed assets incorporating ESG factors grew to $31 trillion in 2020, up from $22.9 trillion in 2016. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 15.2%.

In addition, a survey by Morgan Stanley found that 95% of Millennials are interested in sustainable investing, while 86% believe that companies should be held accountable for their impact on the environment and society.

The Benefits of ESG Investing

There are several reasons why investors are increasingly turning to ESG investing. Firstly, companies that prioritize ESG factors are better positioned to manage risks. For example, a company that has strong environmental policies is less likely to be affected by regulations or lawsuits related to pollution or climate change.

Secondly, companies with strong ESG performance are better able to build trust with stakeholders, including customers, employees, and investors. This can lead to increased brand loyalty, improved employee retention, and a more positive reputation in the marketplace.

Finally, companies that prioritize ESG factors are more likely to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions. By considering the impact of their operations on the environment and society, companies can identify new business opportunities and stay ahead of the curve.

ESG Investing Strategies

There are several different strategies that investors can use to incorporate ESG factors into their investment decisions. One approach is to screen out companies that have a negative impact on the environment or society, such as those involved in fossil fuels or tobacco.

Another approach is to invest in companies that have strong ESG performance, either through active management or passive investing. For example, an investor could choose to invest in an ESG index fund that tracks companies with high ESG ratings.

Finally, some investors choose to engage with companies directly to encourage them to improve their ESG performance. This may involve filing shareholder resolutions, engaging in dialogue with company management, or supporting ESG-related initiatives.

Incorporating ESG Factors into Investment Decisions

When incorporating ESG factors into investment decisions, it’s important to consider the specific goals and values of the investor. For example, an investor who is passionate about environmental issues may choose to focus on companies with strong environmental policies, while an investor who is concerned about social justice may prioritize companies with diverse leadership teams.

In addition, investors should consider the materiality of ESG factors to the companies they are investing in. Materiality refers to the relevance of a particular ESG factor to a company’s financial performance. For example, climate change may be a material issue for a company in the energy sector, but may be less relevant for a software company.

Top ESG Investment Options

There are many different investment options available for investors looking to incorporate ESG factors into their portfolios. Here are a few examples:

Sustainable Investing vs. ESG Investing

It’s worth noting that sustainable investing and ESG investing are not the same thing. While both approaches consider the impact of companies on the environment and society, sustainable investing typically focuses on companies that have a positive impact, while ESG investing considers both positive and negative factors.

In addition, sustainable investing often involves a more active approach, with investors seeking to make a positive impact through their investments. ESG investing, on the other hand, may involve a more passive approach, with investors simply seeking to avoid companies with a negative impact.

ESG Investing for Beginners

If you’re new to ESG investing, it can be overwhelming to navigate the many different options and strategies available. Here are a few tips to get started:

  1. Define your values and goals: Think about what issues are most important to you and what impact you want your investments to have.

  2. Do your research: Look for ESG ratings and reports on the companies you’re considering investing in like those provided by Permutable. Access our free ESG reports here.

  3. Consider working with a financial advisor: A financial advisor can help you navigate the complex world of ESG investing and identify investments that align with your values.

  4. Start small: You don’t need to overhaul your entire portfolio overnight. Consider starting with a small allocation to ESG investments and gradually increasing over time.

There are many companies that prioritize ESG factors in their business practices and may be considered as considered as potential investments for those interested in ESG investing.

Some ESG-focused investment strategies prioritize companies that are leaders in their industry, have strong ESG policies and practices, and are transparent about their performance in these areas. Others may focus on companies that are actively addressing ESG risks and opportunities in their business models.

Some examples of companies that have been recognized for their ESG performance include:

  • Alphabet (GOOGL) – a technology company that has made significant commitments to renewable energy and has strong governance practices.
  • Danaher Corporation (DHR) – a diversified conglomerate that focuses on environmental sustainability and has strong labor practices.
  • NextEra Energy (NEE) – a leading renewable energy company that is committed to reducing carbon emissions.
  • Accenture (ACN) – a consulting and professional services firm that has demonstrated strong governance and social responsibility practices.

It is important to conduct thorough research and analysis before making any investment decisions and to consult with a financial advisor to determine the best investment strategy for your individual goals and risk tolerance.


Conclusion: The Future of ESG Investing

So why is ESG so popular? We hope this article has highlighted the importance of ESG investing and why it is more than just a passing trend. As investors become increasingly aware of the impact that companies can have on the environment and society, ESG factors are becoming an increasingly important part of investment decisions.

By incorporating ESG factors into their portfolios, investors can not only align their investments with their values but also potentially achieve better long-term returns. As ESG investing continues to gain momentum, we can expect to see more and more investment options and strategies available to investors looking to make a positive impact with their investments.

Search our free ESG reports here

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