Top Stories

September 16, 2019

Sustainable Investment

Dow Jones Sustainability Indices Review Results 2019

The results of the annual Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) review, a benchmark of sustainable business practices for investors, were announced on Friday. DJSI are indices that measure the sustainability performance of thousands of public companies, provided by S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI), one of the world’s leading index providers, and SAM, the business unit within RobecoSAM, which specializes in providing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data, ratings, and benchmarking. Since its pioneering launch in 1999, the DJSI World has achieved iconic status as the global standard for measuring and advancing corporate ESG practices. It was the first global index to track the largest and leading sustainability-driven publicly listed companies. The SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) results, derived from analysis of financially material ESG factors, alongside S&P DJI’s robust index methodology, form the basis of the construction and maintenance of the entire DJSI series. This process helps better detect those companies that are well-positioned to address future sustainability-driven challenges and opportunities. (RobecoSAM)*


AI and climate change transform investment sector

Climate change and artificial intelligence will reshape the future of investing, according to analysis that indicates that much of the asset management industry is badly prepared for these twin challenges. Independent research company, Create-Research, interviewed 45 individuals across 16 countries about their assessment of the risks and challenges presented by AI and climate change. Two-thirds of the participants said developments in AI would “definitely” rewrite the future of asset management globally and a further fifth rated this as a probability. Tools such as cognitive computing, machine learning and social media are increasingly used by portfolio managers and quantitative specialists to look for informational advantages over rival players. Amin Rajan, CEO of Create-Research, said investors were faced with “huge judgment calls” on the potential loss of value in stranded assets such as coal and oil reserves at a time when renewable energy technology had not progressed enough to make a big dent in fossil fuel dependency. (Financial Times*)


More than one million UK workers denied legal holiday pay

More than a million workers in Britain do not receive any of the holiday pay they are guaranteed by law, according to a report exposing the scale of violations in the UK jobs market, by thinktank Resolution Foundation. The report comes against a backdrop of rising use of zero-hours contracts and temporary and agency employment since the 2008 financial crisis. Workers in the gig economy are also not guaranteed employment rights such as sick and holiday pay, leading to disputes about their employment status. According to the research, almost one in 10 workers do not receive a legally required payslip, making it hard to calculate whether they are receiving the right level of pay, pension and holiday and to check for any deductions. Tax officials at HMRC have also identified a record 200,000 cases of workers not receiving the minimum wage as a result of enforcement work last year. The analysis found the likelihood of being subject to a labour market violation was higher for those at the start and end of their careers. (The Guardian)

Supply Chain

Unilever uses interactive mapping to boost tea supply chain transparency

Consumer goods giant Unilever has published a full list of its global tea suppliers for the first time, along with a new interactive map to help customers understand its supply chain processes. The company is the world’s largest buyer and seller of tea, purchasing 10% of the global supply each year for use in brands such as Lipton and Pukka. Unilever directly and indirectly, supports more than one million people across supply chains in 21 different countries, including India, Kenya and Argentina. The interactive map features information about the origins of its tea and how it journeys throughout the supply chain, including stories of individuals working in the supply chain, and further information around the ways in which Unilever is working with NGOs, suppliers and other tea buyers to improve social and environmental supply chain practices. Unilever is a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), a non-profit body on a mission to tackle systemic challenges on tea estates. (edie)

Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable food and land use transition could net $4.5 trillion economic boost

The benefits of transforming the way that food is produced, processed, distributed, consumed, and disposed of in order to deliver a sustainable food system far outweigh the costs, according to a major new report. The analysis of global food systems, published by the Food and Land use Coalition (FOLU), concludes the way societies produce and consume food currently costs $12 trillion a year in damage to the environment, health, and development. If no action is taken, the costs are expected to rise to more than $16 trillion each year by 2050, says the report that brings together scientists, policy makers, and leaders from civil society and business. The commission recommends that companies in the food sector change their current business models, where products are designed for cost, convenience, and shelf life, and traceability between producer and end-consumer is limited or non-existent. Up to $4.5 trillion a year by 2030 in economic benefits are available for companies that can translate the hidden costs into new markets and purpose-driven strategies. (Business Green)


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Image Source: assorted numbers printed on wall by Nick Hillier on Unsplash