Investors are now score carding for corporate sustainability

November 24, 2020

From increasing wealth disparity and technological disruptions to demographic pressures and growing populism, to the climate crisis and declining confidence in the institutions that underpin society, now is an important time for leaders to come together and work towards a sustainable world. That is true for the investment community where sustainable investing has been growing fast, as investors look to align their portfolios with sustainability goals.

· Why the current economic, social and governance models have to change in the face of the energy transition and rising tide of digitisation

· The pressure on the corporate world to transition to a more sustainable model

· The benefits of embedding sustainability in portfolio management

· How the current revolution goes way beyond that single, albeit particularly important, issue of climate change

· The challenge of meeting the goals of the accelerated sustainable revolution

· Adapting a company’s DNA to match the political agenda, increasing investor focus, sustainability enablers and the cost of climate change

· The importance of engaging with companies on sustainability and corporate governance

· Why investors only want to invest in companies that pay sufficient attention to people, the environment and good governance.

Sessions from this talk

Our ability to consume information is growing at a breakneck pace, facilitated by a massive expansion of energy-intensive digital infrastructure globally. Meanwhile, markets have woken up to the imperative nature of sustainability, a topic that was once hidden in the footnotes of investment committee papers. This raises the questions of whether our growing consumption of information is sustainable and how investors should tackle the challenge. At Schroders we have long integrated sustainability into our investment process for analysing and engaging with companies. We believe that businesses must account for all of their stakeholders, not just their investors, if they are to prosper. As an investor in data centre, cell tower and fibre businesses globally, we have witnessed a substantial increase in ESG awareness from our portfolio companies over recent years, driven by the conversations that they have with their forward-thinking customers and active investors such as ourselves. In this talk we will outline our view as long term capital allocators, considering whether energy consumption poses a systemic risk to the sector.
Accelerated digital transformation is driving unprecedented data generation as well as increased demand for compute. This, in turn, means a growing need for more efficient data centers to offset rising energy usage. The intersection of rapid data center growth and sustainability has presented an opportunity for data center operators, their customers, and investors alike, to create innovative infrastructure solutions that power the accelerated sustainable revolution. Investors are focusing on a new type of infrastructure: digital. Funds that traditionally backed toll roads and bridges have set their sights on the data economy, where some of the largest consumers of energy are, in fact, amongst the largest drivers of meaningful, impactful sustainability initiatives to offset it. Aligned’s CFO, Anubhav Raj, and ING’s VP of Sustainable Finance, Daniel Shurey, will discuss: • the current data center financial landscape; • the origination, goals and key drivers of green investment, as well as how it will impact the future of technology; and • Aligned’s sustainability platform along with its recent history-making sustainability-linked financing.
The coronavirus is a social issue that has brought unprecedented disruption to societies and is impacting the wellbeing of the world’s population. When considering sustainability, social attributes are often overlooked for the more salient environmental and governance characteristics. However, crises tend to catalyse absorption of pre-crisis trends and as such we may be entering a period where social investing comes to the fore and what role will digital infrastructure assets play in this respect.

Speakers in this Session


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