In this issue we take a brief look at some of the implications for institutional investors, companies, boards and corporate executives in the U.S., Europe/Latin America and Australia/Pacific.
2020 arrived with what Global Proxy Watch headlined an “Epic Escalation” in institutional investors’ focus on climate change, ESG and sustainability. This escalation, notably highlighted by BlackRock’s annual letter to CEOs and by statements from prominent business organizations and institutional investors around the world, did not come as a surprise. For most of the last decade there has been a growing conviction, particularly among institutional investors, academics and governance professionals, that the issues collectively embraced by the term “sustainability” have a material impact on companies’ financial performance and on the long-term returns of investment portfolios. Part of what makes this escalation “epic” is that it alters the behavior not only of executives managing corporations, but also of the asset managers and asset owners who are the providers of capital.