Last year was a notable year for ESG investing. While ESG funds dealt with underperformance, anti-ESG initiatives, and regulation, demand continued to be strong for these funds. This year could be just as eventful for the strategy. First, there were record numbers of shareholder resolutions filed at public companies last year due to the SEC’s friendlier stance on them. That is expected to continue as companies set climate-related targets and shareholders press them on ESG matters. Second, while 57% of institutions expect the energy sector to outperform the market again this year, according to Natixis’ Global Survey of Institutional Investors, 46% said that they are increasing investments in renewables, twice the rate of those increasing investments in fossil fuels. Third, while the SEC has proposed a set of rules designed to help curb greenwashing, firms have a bigger motivator to stop, sweep examinations. According to Michael McGrath, a partner at K&L Gates, “That has had a greater impact on the approaches of firms to their ESG marketing actions thus far than have the new rules. That’s really because firms have an immediate concern that needs to be addressed.” The last theme to watch is anti-ESG initiatives. Asset managers that are focused on sustainable investing will have to accept the fact that they may not be competitive in some markets.
Finsum:2022 was a highly eventful year for ESG investing and this year will be no different due to themes such as shareholder resolutions, increased investments in renewables, SEC sweep examinations, and continued anti-ESG initiatives.