Put it in Writing: Incorporating Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG), and Policy Objectives*
As public interest heats up around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues like climate change and gun control, municipal investors are looking to adopt and implement socially responsible investment mandates. But where does that process begin? And how do you balance ESG objectives with your primary investment objectives? One approach is to avoid socially adverse industries like fossil fuels, tobacco, alcohol, and weapons (referred to as “negative screening”), while another approach is to seek companies that have a direct impact on positive social change like clean energy (referred to as “positive screening”). Everyone has a different understanding of what constitutes an ESG issue, and each screening approach—along with the combinations and variations in between—has a different impact on the portfolio. Bottom line: it is a lot to consider. During this session, panelists will discuss the importance of clearly defining ESG objectives in your investment policy language and factors to consider as you build a socially responsible portfolio. You will hear from a municipal investor currently in the midst of building an ESG framework, a leading global provider of ESG research and ratings, and an investment advisor who has helped public agencies implement a socially responsible strategy.
- Kelly Stachowicz, Assistant City Manager, City of Davis
- Trevor David, Senior Associate, Sustainalytics
- Monique Spyke, Managing Director, PFM Asset Management LLC