“Solid Emerging-Markets Funds With High Sustainability Ratings” – Morningstar – July 21, 2016

On July 21, 2016 Jon Hale, Ph.D., CFA, head of sustainability research for Morningstar, published an analysis of emerging markets funds with a high Morningstar sustainability rating.  The article includes a list of 24 emerging market funds that carry a Morningstar sustainability rating of high.  A chart lists these 24 fund and notes teach fund’s Morningstar rating, Morningstar analyst rating, and those funds with a high or above average governance score.

Until very recently, conventional wisdom held that socially responsible investment (SRI) was challenging, if not impossible, in emerging markets due emerging markets companies’ poor environmental, social and governance performance.  Indeed, the first comment posted to the article states exactly this position.

The article demonstrates that in current imperfect market conditions, it impossible to apply ESG metrics to select emerging market companies and funds that perform well on financial as well as these extra-financial parameters.  A lack of ESG data about many emerging market companies remains a challenge.  Investor pressure for better disclosure and better performance will help – on a company level and broadly.  Furthermore, the dimension of the Volkswagen scandal should caution against generalizing about the rarified nature of ESG disclosures in developed markets.

You may read the article on the Morningstar internet site.

Emerging Markets ESG’s SRI contact database identifies 202 SRI indices worldwide; an increase of 61% during the past six months – Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Today, July 20, 2016 Emerging Markets ESG publishes the 22nd edition of its Updated Database of Contacts in the Field of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI).  The database includes 1,820 institutions, 1,775 conferences/events, 202 indices and 49 awards.  The first edition of the database was published by the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program in 2002, which updated it semi-annually through December 2009.  Emerging Markets ESG took over management of the database in 2010 and now updates it semi-annually.

The most significant feature of the 22nd edition of the database is the dramatic increase in SRI indices.  It now contains 202 indices, versus 125 as of December 31, 2015.  Since January 2016, Emerging Markets ESG has added to the database:

  • Country indices in Chile, Hong Kong, Mauritius and Singapore; and
  • a range of global and regional indices, with universes covering:  access to seeds, broad market, blue-chip, climate change, diversified, ESG, gender, green revenue, low carbon, long-term value, screens, sustainable companies and water.

The 22nd edition of the database also contains new 110 conference/events, 56 new institutions and three new awards.  It contains a first entry from Bahrain (The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions [CIBAF] Global Forum – May 3, 2016), a first entry from Rwanda (Africa Carbon Forum – Kigali, Rwanda – June 28-30, 2016); and several new cross-cutting initiatives, including: the CICERO Climate Finance Initiative in Norway and the Food Loss & Waste (FLW) Standard.  It now includes entries from 98 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.

The database also records another watershed:  it now lists over 500 conferences/events that have taken place in the United States since 2002.  Of the 1,775 conferences/events, 501 took place in the US, 285 in the United Kingdom, 89 in Switzerland, 72 in France, 66 in Germany, 56 in the Netherlands, 55 in Canada, 49 in Australia, 31 in Belgium, 23 in South Africa, 21 in Spain, 19 in Singapore, 18 in China, 18 in Italy, 16 in Hong Kong, 15 in United Arab Emirates, 14 in India, 12 in Brazil, 12 in Mexico, 11 in Denmark and 10 in Austria.

It lists 232 webinars, compared with 208 webinars as of December 31, 2015; 198 webinars as of June 30, 2015; 183 webinars as of December 31, 2014; 168 webinars as of June 30, 2014; 140 webinars as of December 31, 2013; 116 webinars as of June 31, 2013; and 89 webinars as of December 31, 2012.

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