January 23, 2020


The Year 2020 Off To Great Start For News About Sustainable Investing

Here we are now in a new year, and new decade (the third decade of the 21st Century) and much of the buzz is all about (1) climate change and the dramatic impacts on business, finance, government and we humans around the globe; and (2) many more investors are moving their money to more sustainable investments.

Oh, of course, there are other important conversations going on, such as about corporate purpose, corporate stewardship, human rights, the circular economy, worker rights, supply chain responsibility, reducing GHG emission, conserving natural resources, moving to a greener and lower carbon economy, workplace diversity, what happens to workers when automation replaces them…and more.  But much of this is really part of sustainable investing, no?  And corporate purpose, we’d say, is at the center of much of this discussion!

The bold names of institutional investors/asset management are in the game and influencing peers in the capital markets – think about the influence of Goldman Sachs, BlackRock (world’s largest asset manager), State Street/SSgA, The Vanguard Group, and Citigroup on other institutions, to name a handful of major asset managers adopting sustainable investing strategies and approaches.

This week’s Top Story is about Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s pivot to “green is good”, moved by Reuters news service and authored by Chris Taylor.  The GS website welcome is Our Commitment to Sustainable Finance.  The company announced a US$750 billion, 10-year initiative focused on clean energy, affordable education and accessible healthcare, and reduction of or exclusion of financing for Arctic oil-gas drilling.

Head of GS Sustainable Finance Group John Goldstein explains the company’s approach to sustainable financing and investment in the Reuters story. 

Our other Top Story is from Morningstar; this is an update on the investors’ flow into sustainable funds in 2019…what could be the leading edge of a huge wave coming as new records are set. 

For 2019, net flows into open-end and ETF sustainable funds were $20.6 billion for the year just ended – that’s four times the 2018 volume (which was also a record year). There’s always information of value for you on the Morningstar website; registration is required for free access to content.

And the commentary on the January 2020 letter from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to the CEOs of companies the firm invests in – we’ve included a few perspectives. 

We’d say that 2020 is off to an exciting start for sustainability professionals, in the capital markets, and in the corporate sector!


Top Stories for This Week

Green is good. Is Wall Street's new motto sustainable?   
Source: Reuters - If you have gone to Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N) internet home page since mid-December, it would be reasonable to wonder if you had stumbled into some kind of parallel universe. 

Sustainable Fund Flows in 2019 Smash Previous Records   
Source: MorningStar - Sustainable funds in the United States attracted new assets at a record pace in 2019. Estimated net flows into open-end and exchange-traded sustainable funds that are available to U.S. investors totaled $20.6 billion for the... 


ESG / Sustainable & Responsible Investment

Sustainable Fund Flows in 2019 Smash Previous Records   
Source: MorningStar 

6 Places to Find Sustainable Investments   
Source: US News 

More money flowed into sustainable investment funds last year than ever before   
Source: The Hill 

More Perspectives on BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s
Letter to Corporate CEOs

BlackRock CEO letter on sustainable investing is a game changer for the global investor and corporate community    
Source: Ceres 

If Larry Fink Can Drive BlackRock Toward Sustainability There Is No Excuse For The Rest Of Us   
Source: Forbes 

BlackRock CEO says the climate crisis is about to trigger ‘a fundamental reshaping of finance’   
Source: CNBC 

JUMP TO MORE ESG / Sustainable & Responsible Investment

Corporate Sustainability / ESG

In climate push, Microsoft to erase its carbon footprint from atmosphere   
Source: Reuters 

Nike's "Move to Zero" Sustainability Mission   
Source: Cool Hunting 
GM names chief sustainability officer to lead zero-emissions efforts   
Source: Detroit News 

JUMP TO MORE Corporate Sustainability / ESG

In the Agora: Consumers & Sustainability

Online Retailers Are Making 'Sustainable' Fashion More Searchable   
Source: Fashionista 

Who Are the Millennials Driving Sustainable Growth?   
Source: Triple Pundit 

Report: 62% of Gen Z Shoppers Demand Sustainable Retail   
Source: Environmental Leader 

JUMP TO MORE Consumers & Sustainability


Sustainability Data That Matter

Robots and data - their role in sustainability   
Source: European Cleaning Journal 

Sustainable finance starts with data   
Source: World Economic Forum 

JUMP TO MORE Sustainability Data That Matters



G&A Institute Interns during their remote internship learn and master important elements about the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards for sustainability reporting, along with other common reporting frameworks used by investors, such as, CDPRobecoSAM CSA (DJSI), SASB, IIRC, the UN SDGs, and other frameworks. An example of topics and issues of discussion and research during this internship include the concepts of materiality, stakeholder engagement, external assurance, reporting balance, comparability, and many others. All of which is valuable knowledge and experience that can be applied in your studies and future careers

Click here for more information and full description of requirements. Interested parties should submit their resume with required accompanying documentation by February 15th!

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BlackRock’s CEO’s 2020 Letter to Corporate CEOs – Explaining the World’s Largest Asset Manager’s Perspectives and Actions on the Global Climate Change Crisis

Hello to Year 2020 and the Start of the Third Decade of the 21st Century – Climate! Climate! Climate! is The Dominant Theme of News & Commentary!





FLASH REPORT: 60% of Russell 1000® Are Publishing Sustainability Reports, G&A Institute’s 2018 Inaugural Benchmark Study Shows

FLASH REPORT: 86% of S&P 500 Index® Companies Publish Sustainability / Responsibility Reports in 2018

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