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ESG Trends 2021

The future of sustainable investing

What are the ESG trends that investors should focus on in 2021? Have the events of 2020 awakened investors to a greater need for social equality? Will Joe Biden re-join the Paris Agreement as promised and work towards aligning corporate objectives with the sustainability goals inherent within this accord?

MSCI delineates several key ESG trends to be mindful of over the course of 2021, including the need to preserve biodiversity and the gravitation towards a more nuanced understanding of ESG. Other papers look at climate scenario analysis and ESG trends in emerging market economies.

ESG Trends


Future of Sustainability in Investment Management (CFA Institute, 2021)

Sustainability's future hangs in the balance – the balance between financial and non-financial considerations, long-term and short-term goals, and the interests of multiple stakeholders. How will sustainability in the investment management industry manage to evolve and adapt over time?

ESG Outperformance: Not about one factor (DWS Group, 2021)

For compliance reasons, this paper is NOT accessible in the United States

DWS Group discusses the resiliency of ESG indices during the Covid-19 crisis and evidence of improved risk-return metrics versus their non-ESG counterparts.

Hydrogen: Back to the future (Aviva Investors, 2020)

For compliance reasons, this paper is only accessible in certain geographies

Innovations could lead to advancements in hydrogen storage and transportation, paving the way for green hydrogen production and a better path to net-zero emissions.

SRI/ESG: Recent trends for emerging markets funds (Informa, 2021)

When looking at fund flows, Informa calls attention to the dramatic increases in socially responsible and ESG funds in 2020. As their graphs indicate, this trend is especially prevalent in emerging markets.

ESG Investing in Asia: An invisible evolution (Manulife IM, 2020)

The authors outline the evolution of ESG investing in Asia. They pay particular attention to the effects fo COVID-19, the responses of Asian policymakers, and issues that investors should consider over the coming months.

2021 ESG Trends to Watch (MSCI, Dec 2020)

MSCI reveals five of the ESG trends that are likely to matter most in 2021 – biodiversity, ESG data, Paris alignment, social inequality, and a more nuanced understanding of ESG.

How Insurance Can Help Combat Climate Change (McKinsey and Company, 2021)

The topic of conversation for this McKinsey & Company podcast is the ways in which the insurance industry can help stakeholders to manage risk in their efforts to transition to a greener economy.

Podcast: Credit’s role in decarbonizing the economy (Wells Fargo AM, Jan 2021)

For compliance reasons, this paper is only accessible in the United States

In this podcast, a Senior Portfolio Manager at Wells Fargo Asset Management discusses sustainable investing trends in fixed income, as well as potential sustainable investment milestones over the course of 2021.

Podcast: Climate scenarios with Claire Jones (LCP, 2020)

LCP explores climate issues with Claire Jones, Head of Responsible Investment. This podcast looks at specific climate scenario analysis, whether this is via a top-down or a bottom-up process.

Global Innovations Driving Zero-Carbon Cement (Franklin Templeton, 2021)

For compliance reasons, this paper is only accessible in the EMEA region

The carbon intensity of cement is tremendous, and the cement industry is also one of the world's most carbon-polluting industries. So, to what extent can cement production become decarbonised?

Responsible Investing and Stock Allocation (Amundi, 2021)

For compliance reasons, this paper is NOT accessible in the United States

In French retirement savings plans, the inclusion of responsible equity options results in a greater overall allocation to equities. Amundi analysts discuss this phenomenon, as well as other responsible investing and asset allocation issues.

Sustainability Reporting 2020: The time has come (KPMG, Dec 2020)

In an effort to support individuals who are responsible for sustainability reporting, KPMG provides the following survey on sustainability reporting trends.

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