Digital library on sustainable finance

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TITLE Swiss Pension Funds and Responsible Investment
AUTHOR WWF
PUBLISHED Feb 2019
LANGUAGES DE  FR  IT  EN 
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Summary

The WWF Pension Funds Rating 2018/2019 analyses and assesses the 20 largest pension funds in Switzerland (based on assets under management at the end of 2016). The WWF Pension Funds Rating was carried out for the second time as a way of initiating a regular dialogue with the participating pension funds and their stakeholder groups.

The full rating is available in German, with summaries in French, English and Italian.

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TITLE Holders of Last Resort: The Role of Index Funds and Index Providers in Divestment and Climate Change
AUTHOR Patrick Jahnke
PUBLISHED Feb 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This paper shows how passive funds can make a full contribution to mitigating climate change. As a growing number of institutional asset owners are divesting from coal assets, index funds are becoming the holders of last resort. The common wisdom has it that index funds cannot sell out of individual stock holdings. This paper investigates the relationship between index providers and index funds and finds the traditional understanding that index investors cannot sell to be false. Instead an increasing prevalence of index investors switching both indices and index providers is noted.

The paper also suggests a number of solutions for index funds to reduce the carbon intensity of their funds, such as switching the indices their funds employ, discontinuing niche ETFs that are carbon intensive, reducing fees on low-carbon investments, or making use of their financial clout, as index providers’ biggest customers, to advocate for selective index amendments.

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TITLE Spotlight on Responsible Investment in Private Debt
AUTHOR Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
PUBLISHED Feb 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

The core concepts of responsible investment are the consideration of ESG factors in investment decisions and investor stewardship, alongside a commitment to both corporate and investor transparency. Such concepts apply to all asset classes, but there are differences in the way practitioners implement responsible investment depending on whether they invest in public or private debt or equity, and in liquid or illiquid markets.

To date, little has been written about how investors can invest responsibly in private debt. This paper aims to promote better understanding of the rationale for responsible investment in the context of private debt investments, and is based on desk research, interviews with 18 investors and industry stakeholders, and group discussions among PRI signatories.

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TITLE Social Impact Investment 2019. The Impact Imperative for Sustainable Development.
AUTHOR OECD
PUBLISHED Jan 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This publication is a sequel to the OECD 2015 report on Social Impact Investment (SII), Building the Evidence Base, bringing new evidence on the role of SII in financing sustainable development. It depicts the state of play of SII approaches globally, comparing regional trends, and assesses its prospects, with a special focus on data issues and recent policy developments.

Importantly, it provides new guidance for policy makers in OECD and non-OECD countries, as well as providers of development co-operation, development financers, social impact investment practitioners and the private sector more broadly, to help them maximise the contribution of social impact investing to the 2030 Agenda.

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TITLE On Values in Finance and Ethics
AUTHOR Henry Schäfer
PUBLISHED Jan 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Why has conventional capital market theory and the theory of finance ignored systematically ethics in the last decades? Are ethics and finance really counterparts? These and many other questions are tackled in the latest book of Prof. Dr. Henry Schäfer, which delivers an overarching discussion and analysis of the building blocks of modern capital market theory and an analysis of its hidden ethical content.

The book illustrates the significant degree of alienation between the financial and the real side of economies, stemming from the long-standing struggle between ethics and economics. Furthermore, it provides a roadmap of modern value thinking, highlighting the crucial role of stakeholders and non-governmental organizations.

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TITLE Report on Climate-related Disclosures
AUTHOR EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance
PUBLISHED Jan 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

The EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance released a report on climate-related disclosures as an input into the revision of the guidance framing non-financial corporate disclosure in the EU.

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TITLE The Global Risks Report 2019
AUTHOR World Economic Forum (WEF)
PUBLISHED Jan 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

According to the 14th edition of World Economic Forum’s global risks report, environmental risks dominate the global risks landscape in terms of impact and likelihood for the third year in a row.

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TITLE Statement on disclosure of ESG matters by issuers
AUTHOR International Organization of Securities Commissions
PUBLISHED Jan 2019
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published its first official statement setting out the importance of including ESG matters when disclosing information material to investors’ decisions.

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TITLE European SRI Study 2018
AUTHOR Eurosif
PUBLISHED Nov 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

The 8th edition of the Eurosif SRI study gives a detailed picture of the European SRI industry, covering institutional and retail investor from 12 European markets.

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TITLE Rethinking Impact to Finance the SDGs
AUTHOR UNEP Finance Initiative
PUBLISHED Nov 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

The paper reviews the scope and nature of the financing gap for sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to propose new solutions for finance, business and a broader set of stakeholders. It builds on the Positive Impact Initiative’s earlier Manifesto (2015) and Principles for Positive Impact Finance (2017), clarifying the concepts of impact-based business models, impact-based economy and holistic impact analysis

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TITLE Get Real! Individuals Prefer More Sustainable Investments
AUTHOR Rob Bauer, Tobias Ruof, Paul Smeets
PUBLISHED Nov 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Do people put their pension savings on the table to promote sustainability? This paper answers the question in a large-scale field experiment (n = 3,256). The pension fund in the study gave its members a real vote for more or less sustainable investments. A comparison group made the same decision, but hypothetically. The paper finds that 66.7% of the participants favor to invest their pension savings in a sustainable manner.

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TITLE Sustainable investing: How to do it
AUTHOR Dirk Schoenmaker
PUBLISHED Nov 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Sustainable investment is gaining momentum in Europe, but its current proposed taxonomy might hinder innovation in the field. In this policy paper, Dirk Schoenmaker advocates for an active investment approach with concentrated portfolios, and sets out a six-point plan for sustainable investing.

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TITLE Public Sentiment and the Price of Corporate Sustainability
AUTHOR George Serafeim
PUBLISHED Oct 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Combining corporate sustainability performance scores based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) data with big data measuring public sentiment about a company’s sustainability performance, this paper finds that the valuation premium paid for companies with strong sustainability performance has increased over time and that the premium is increasing as a function of positive public sentiment momentum. The evidence suggests that public sentiment influences investor views about the value of corporate sustainability activities
and thereby both the price paid for corporate sustainability and the investment returns of portfolios that consider ESG data.

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SSRN-id3265502 (pdf 572.0 kB)
TITLE Green Digital Finance. Mapping Current Practice and Potential in Switzerland and Beyond
AUTHOR UNEP Inquiry
PUBLISHED Oct 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

As a global financial centre with a growing strategic interest in sustainable finance, and a country recognized as a leader in digital technologies and innovation, Switzerland is seeking an improved understanding of how digital finance can accelerate the greening of financial flows. UN Environment, with support from the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), undertook a stocktaking to map emerging green digital finance practices in Switzerland and globally in 2018. The paper provides options for a number of national and international actions that could be taken forward by different stakeholder groups.

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TITLE Sustainable investing and bond returns
AUTHOR Barclays
PUBLISHED Oct 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Much research has been done on the relationship between environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investing and performance in equity markets, but far less on its effect on the credit markets. This study into the behaviour of corporate bond portfolios showed that applying ESG factors resulted in a small but steady performance benefit and no evidence of a negative effect.

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TITLE Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance – Frequently Asked Questions
AUTHOR EU Commission
PUBLISHED Oct 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This document contains answers to frequently asked questions regarding the work of the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) set up by the EU Commission, and the legislative proposals that frame its work.

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TITLE The case for sustainable bond investing strengthens
AUTHOR Barclays
PUBLISHED Oct 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This study explores the relationship between ESG and credit portfolio performance in the US dollar and euro investment grade credit markets, as well as the USD high yield credit market. The study found that favouring bond issuers with high ESG ratings can generate positive returns across markets, geographies and sectors.

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TITLE Why and how investors can respond to income inequality
AUTHOR UN PRI & TIIP
PUBLISHED Oct 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Institutional investors are increasingly realising that income inequality—the gap in income and wealth between the very affluent and the rest of society—has become one of the most noteworthy socioeconomic issues of our time. The report identifies three themes material to long-term investors and also suggests paths that investors might take to adopt a more balanced view of how to create value, manage system-level risks and maximize rewards while still operating profitably and enjoying competitive returns.

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TITLE Mainstreaming Sustainable Investment
AUTHOR Michael J. Greis CFA
PUBLISHED Oct 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

Like all investors, sustainable investors juggle various motivations: improving investment performance, achieving an economic or a societal outcome, and investing in ways consistent with their values/beliefs. The challenge for sustainable investment professionals is to understand their clients’ motivations and then shape their expectations and investment strategy accordingly. Given this range of motivations and the diversity of environmental, social, and governance systems, it should not be surprising that there are many ways to approach investing sustainably.

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TITLE Schroders Institutional Investor Study 2018. Institutional perspectives on sustainable investing
AUTHOR Schroders
PUBLISHED Sep 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This global study was commissioned for a second year by Schroders to analyse institutional investors and their attitudes towards sustainable investments, investment objectives and risk. Respondents represent a variety of institutions, including pension funds, foundations, endowments and sovereign wealth funds and manage approximately $24 trillion in assets. The 650 institutional respondents were sourced from 15 different countries.

The study found that while the outlook for incorporating sustainability in institutional portfolios is strong, sustainability currently plays a muted role in investment decision-making. 

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TITLE The Inevitable Policy Response: Act Now
AUTHOR Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
PUBLISHED Sep 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This overview paper is the first in a body of work on an inevitable, rapid and forceful climate policy response, developed by the PRI in order to help institutional investors take action and implement processes to build resilience across investment portfolios. 

The report series assesses the investment implications of a rapid and forceful policy response to close the gap to the Paris Agreement – what is referred to as an Inevitable Policy Response (IPR) – having recognized that the full impact of a delayed, but forceful policy response has not been widely debated or understood by many in the institutional investment community. 

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TITLE The Inevitable Policy Response: Why
AUTHOR Energy Transition Advisors
PUBLISHED Sep 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This technical paper is part of a body of work on an inevitable, rapid and forceful climate policy response. It was developed by the PRI in order to help institutional investors take action and implement processes to build resilience across investment portfolios, in face of what is referred to as the Inevitable Policy Response (IPR).

This paper explains why a forceful climate policy response is inevitable and sets out the multiple forces building in the system that could come forward and trigger a rapid (but also late and costlier) policy suite by governments.

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TITLE The Inevitable Policy Response: When, What and How
AUTHOR Vivid Economics
PUBLISHED Sep 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This technical paper is part of a body of work on an inevitable, rapid and forceful climate policy response. It was developed by the PRI in order to help institutional investors take action and implement processes to build resilience across investment portfolios, in face of what is referred to as the Inevitable Policy Response (IPR).

Having considered the various potential drivers of an IPR, the paper further considers when the IPR could occur, what policy and technology pathways it might take, and how these pathways would affect the macroeconomy and risk-returns of financial assets.

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TITLE The Inevitable Policy Response: Strategic Asset Allocation and Portfolio Construction
AUTHOR Energy Transition Advisors
PUBLISHED Sep 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This technical paper is part of a body of work on an inevitable, rapid and forceful climate policy response. It was developed by the PRI in order to help institutional investors take action and implement processes to build resilience across investment portfolios, in face of what is referred to as the Inevitable Policy Response (IPR).

The paper presents a framework that institutional investors can utilise as part of their response to an IPR outcome. It will help prepare investors for an IPR and the implications it will have for further adapting and shifting SAA processes and portfolio construction techniques. 

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TITLE The Inevitable Policy Response: Investor Actions
AUTHOR Energy Transition Advisors
PUBLISHED Sep 2018
LANGUAGES EN 
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Summary

This technical paper is part of a body of work on an inevitable, rapid and forceful climate policy response. It was developed by the PRI in order to help institutional investors take action and implement processes to build resilience across investment portfolios, in face of what is referred to as the Inevitable Policy Response (IPR).

This paper pulls together the strands of the IPR, and sets out the issues to support a robust investor response ross the broader areas of portfolio management processes, including taking preparatory action to review governance arrangements, risk management processes, engagement with policy-makers, companies and service providers.

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