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'Growing interest in ESG warrants better collaboration'

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Global investor interest in sustainable and responsible investment continues to accelerate at a rapid pace. The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) estimates $23tn in global assets are managed under responsible investment strategies, a 25% increase since 2014.

Responsible investment strategies consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in portfolio selection criteria. They also choose managers who believe better corporate ESG profiles result in fewer disasters and corporate scandals.

Investment policies that integrate ESG criteria tend to reflect investor values on weapons, carbon emissions, fossil fuel reserves, labour conditions, human rights, corporate governance, executive compensation and other concerns around social or environmental problems.

Investors are also pursuing ESG concerns through corporate engagement and shareholder activism to influence corporate behaviour.

With more than 20 years of actively protecting and promoting the rights of institutional investors and public entities, Grant & Eisenhofer has built its legacy in corporate governance with an unwavering commitment to responsible investment.

We continue to build on our history with an initiative designed to address the increasing dialogue on ESG criteria among those working in institutional investment.

The G&E ESG Institute was launched to provide thought leadership on legal issues related to ESG considerations and socially responsible investment. Key actors in global investment and ESG investing will participate on an oversight board to provide strategic insight and development.

The oversight board members have been thoughtfully selected to provide a diverse range of perspectives, experience and backgrounds that will collectively direct the creation and future evolution of the ESG Institute. Members bring global experience from asset managers, public pension funds and non-profits.

Some of the legal issues the ESG Institute will focus on include:

  • Sustainability and fiduciary duty
  • Climate change and securities law
  • Corporate legal responsibility for activity in developing countries
  • International whistleblower developments
  • Legal challenges to limit compensation

The ESG Institute will meet periodically with high-quality events both in the US and Europe to provide continuity and a forum for engagement to connect like-minded participants and organisations. It will seek regular feedback from participants and the oversight board.

Our objective is to continuously address the legal issues that decision makers and stakeholders in the investment community are grappling with in implementing sustainability considerations and responsible investment criteria.

Column sponsored and supplied by Grant & Eisenhofer

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