Environmental, social and governance (ESG) is now a major area of responsibility for organisations – and treasurers have a crucial role to play in its implementation. A recent TMI webinar featuring Aberdeen Standard Investments, S&P, and corporate sustainability leader Tideway looked at the practical reality of rolling out ESG initiatives within treasury, with a focus on short-term investing.
The majority of corporate boards have not been strangers to ESG over the past few years, but recently they have experienced a marked increase in pressure from investors and regulators to deliver much more – and at pace – on factors including sustainability, governance, diversity, and inclusion.
With that greater scrutiny and pressure has come the need for firms to develop innovative solutions and gather more detailed, verifiable data that clearly demonstrates their progress in integrating ESG into their operations. This hardening of the nexus between ESG, financial performance and ‘investibility’ has led to treasurers being called upon to play an increasingly vital role in meeting the many and varied challenges ESG poses.
Kate McGrath, ESG Analyst, Fixed Income, Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI), provides an insight for treasurers into just how seriously institutions are taking ESG factors into account when assessing a company. “ESG criteria are now a key part of any investment research at ASI because they help us to understand material risks and opportunities a company faces. To avoid greenwashing, what we’re really looking for is solid evidence that a company’s actions really do match up to its words.“