Sustainable Finance is responsible for the new paradigm in the financial market, which redirects financial flows towards sustainable investments.

According to the European Commission sustainable finance "is understood as finance to support economic growth while reducing pressures on the environment and considering social and governance aspects.
Sustainable finance also encompasses transparency on risks related to ESG factors that may impact the financial system, and the mitigation of such risks through the appropriate governance of financial and corporate actors".

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The evolution of sustainable investment (SRI) is explained by 4 drivers. All of them reflect the most important issues for the society at a given moment.

According to PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) - a UN initiative launched in April 2006 that puts investors working together in order to comply with the six principles of responsible investment:

Responsible investment is an approach to investments that aims to incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions, to better manage risk and generate sustainable, long-term returns. 

The idea is to have investors with enough information that allows them:

  • to implement a sustainable investing program, excluding companies involved in controversial issues;
  • to support the most sustainable companies, focusing on environmental, social and governance (ESG) exposures, and/or to use ownership to engage with those companies;
  • to report its activities by becoming signatories of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

Some results

According to the latest data from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, sustainable responsible investment (SRI) totals 35.4 trillion US Dollars (AuM - Assets under Management) corresponding to 36% of the total market. Europe and the US continue to hold the largest shares of total SRI assets(2020 data). It is estimated that this figure represented 40 trillion US dollars in 2020, and that this figure will increase by 10 trillion every two years (Source 2020 - ESG Data Integration by Asset Managers: Targeting Alpha, Fiduciary Duty & Portfolio Risk Analysis). See all the details here.

The 6 principles of responsible investment:

  • 1: We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
  • 2: We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
  • 3: We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
  • 4: We will promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.
  • 5: We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
  • 6: We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.

The 7 investment strategies of the Sustainable Investment evolution (SRI)

In Europe, according to EUROSIF (the main European organization responsible for promoting sustainable and responsible investment), SRI investment is based on 7 investment strategies (Best-in-class; Sustainability themes; Norm-based screening; Integration of ESG factors; Exclusions; Impact investing; Engagement and voting). 

  1. Negative Screening: The exclusion of a company from a given SRI fund or index is based on one or more specific ESG criteria;
  2. Norm-based screening: Inclusion depends on an analysis of the companies and other issuing organizations, according to their compliance with international norms and conventions; 
  3. Best-in-class screening: The inclusion of a company is based on its performance compared to the best examples within a given universe;
  4. ESG integration: The systematic and explicit inclusion of ESG factors in a financial analysis process by asset managers.;
  5. Corporate engagement: The position of investors on ESG issues, requiring companies in which they invest to improve their practices;
  6. Sustainability-themed investing: Inclusion is related to themes or assets involving sustainability;
  7. Impact investing: specific investments, usually carried out in private markets, for the resolution of social ot environmental problems.
Sustainable performance of EDP

The growth of SRI investment is closely associated with the creation of sustainable products, most notably the evolution of sustainability indexes. These indexes assess the ESG performance of company practices based on the various methods created by information suppliers ('sustainability raters'). For further details press here. 

The responsible investment also promotes the development of the green bonds. The main goal is to have capital flows that support the development of a more environmentally friendly, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. For further details press here.

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Podcast “Now or Never”

Ep. 9 - Sustainable Finance

Ensuring the sustainability of the planet and improving the living conditions of those who inhabit it requires concrete actions, behavioral changes, personal decisions in our everyday lives.