Financial Sector Gets Green Light to Include ESG Factors in Investment Decisions

Oct 22, 2015 4:30 PM ET

Financial Sector Gets Green Light to Include ESG Factors in Investment Decisions

There’s more evidence that the mainstream financial sector is increasingly moving toward the integration of ESG issues into investment decisions.

The Department of Labor has announced the retraction of a 2008 bulletin that will allow investors, including financial advisors and pension plans, to include ESG factors as part of their broader fiduciary duty to produce profits. That 2008 notice had been interpreted as a barrier to those looking to make sustainable investments. The decision to retract the cautionary bulletin confirms that ESG factors are now widely considered to be material to the bottom line, and provides a major boost to the direction of private capital at scale toward global social and environmental challenges.

Among the financial institutions supporting the Labor Department’s announcement was Morgan Stanley. That firm’s Institute for Sustainable Investing published research earlier this year showing that 71 percent of individual investors are interested in sustainable investing. A follow-up report that analyzed over 10,000 open-end funds concluded that investing in sustainability does not result in any decrease in profits.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

 

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