LATEST ARTICLE Leading German companies: their carbon footprints and reporting practices Read Article

7 Insights from assets owners on the rise of sustainable investing

The rise of sustainable investing is making institutional asset owners become more interested in sustainable investing and having a positive impact on the environment.

Sustainable investing or ESG meaning is to produce long-term returns while also coordinating investment choices with an investor's social and environmental values. Typically, one of the top concerns for investors is making a profit, but with sustainable investment, profit isn't the primary objective. Equally vital, if not more so, is making an impression. 

Find out why institutional asset owners are becoming more interested in sustainable investing.

7 insights from assets owners on the rise of sustainable investing

Why sustainable investing is important? 

The forms of sustainable financing have expanded quickly as an increasing number of institutional Various environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing strategies are used by investors and funds.

The practice of investing in businesses or funds that seek market-rate financial returns while taking positive social or environmental impact into account is becoming more common among institutional investors.

What are the insights from asset owners on the rise of sustainable investing?

7 insights from assets owners on the rise of sustainable investing


1. Global climate 

The rise of sustainable investing was mostly driven by concerns about the environment, yet there are still investment gaps. According to the Climate Policy Initiative, annual investment levels about seven times higher than those attained in 2019 and 2020 are needed to accomplish longer-term climate change targets.

Additionally, asset owners have not adopted a single strategy to address it. However, a few motifs have surfaced.

For instance, to promote energy efficiency and CO2 trading, CalPERS and CalSTRS have both backed a multi-faceted, comprehensive strategy that incorporates legislative advocacy, corporate governance, and investment.

2. Unfavorable screening

The most well-known and possibly most popular ESG method is unfavorable screening.

It's a straightforward idea: You screen an industry or company out of your investment portfolio if its practices conflict with your ideals. It resembles a boycott but involves money invested. History demonstrates that it can have an impact and aid in positive development. For instance, in the 1970s, businesses withdrew their assets from South Africa to oppose the apartheid regime, which contributed to its eventual downfall.

Like all of us, asset owners have objectives beyond maximizing profits, and many of them are willing to give up a few more basis points (bps) in exchange for a reduction in carbon emissions or other ESG-related advantages.

Asset owners will continue to weed out businesses and industries that don't adhere to their changing standards since they are responsible for their communities and work to reflect the ideals of those communities.

As an illustration, by the act of the Norwegian parliament, Norges Bank Investment Management, the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, was divested from tobacco producers, among other industries. The $200 billion pension fund for New York City trustees has likewise set a five-year divestment target from fossil fuels.

3. Indexation by ESG

The active vs. passive argument is present in how asset owners approach ESG and have a range of effects on their policy portfolios.

Get in touch with our experts

The explicit domestic equity allocation goal of the New York State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS) is 20%/80% active/passive. Since institutional-scale ESG index funds have been accessible at least since the Vanguard Social Index Fund was introduced in 2000, it was almost inevitable that asset owners would embrace these products widely.

CalSTRS, on the other hand, has invested its money in State Street Global Advisor (SSGA) SHE ETFs, emerging as a key investor at the intersection of gender diversity and smart beta indexing.

4. Standards and frameworks

Large sovereign wealth funds, such as the NZ Super Fund, have stated the need for a distinct One Planet framework.

With an emphasis on voluntary action, the One Planet framework places a special focus on climate change and offers tailored recommendations for nations based on their economic development stage.

Leading asset managers like SSGA have embraced this concept as a useful means of aligning with their peers and clients. APG, CalPERS, CalSTRS, NYCERS, OTPP, and TIAA, among other asset owners, will play active leadership roles as part of the Sustainability Initiative as ESG develops, and its standards and terminology will continue to evolve.

7 insights from assets owners on the rise of sustainable investing

5. Inclusion and diversity

Diversity in the workplace and investing have numerous proven advantages. Numerous studies have demonstrated that variety, including that of gender and race, among other things, produces real, positive outcomes.

Get in touch with our Investment Team

However, the reality of personnel demography has lagged behind science, whether in the boardroom or the C-suite. For instance, important decision-makers continue to be disproportionately male and frequently do not represent the ethnic or other diversity of the general population. And pay disparities even within the same position are frequent.

6. Integration

The Guidance and Case Studies for ESG Integration, issued by PRI and the CFA Institute, define it as "the explicit and systematic inclusion of ESG factors in investment research and investment decisions." To make an investment choice, material elements, including traditional financial and ESG factors, are discovered and evaluated. This is referred to as a "holistic approach" to investment analysis.

Integrative thinking must be prioritized. Integrating involves incorporating ESG factors into every aspect of investment research, from security selection to asset allocation.

7. Current ownership

Another crucial element in the ESG toolbox for asset owners is shareholder democracy.

They can use their actual or potential equity to sway the company's policy as stockholders and potential company stockholders.

Since 1985, the Council of Institutional Investors (CII) has studied and influenced the relationships that asset owners have with the boards and management of the companies that make up their portfolios. It has a significant impact: The 135 asset owners who make up the CII have $4 trillion in AUM.

The early 2000s Enron and WorldCom scandals, not to mention the world financial crisis, hastened the paradigm shift in favor of active ownership. Portfolio companies, as well as society at large, benefit from clearly stated corporate governance ideals, such as those promoted by Florida.


Governments and businesses will need to drastically modify the way they conduct business in order to successfully produce a better future and have a beneficial impact on societies, and investors have the potential to influence how they accomplish this. Every investor, from the biggest asset management to the tiniest individual, has the option to support sustainable business.

DGB finds and creates a variety of large-scale forestry projects. We make investments in environmentally friendly solutions, creating a desirable portfolio that combines income return and capital growth.

Get in touch with our experts to find out all the details 



Before you go...

As DGB Group, our sole purpose is to rebuild trust and serve the public by making the right information available to everyone. By subscribing to our mailing newsletter, you can get the latest tips and trends from DGB Group's expert team in your inbox. Sign up now and never miss the insights.

Read other articles

In recent years, the world has witnessed a stark increase in environmental crises. These events have..

As the CEO of DGB, I am deeply committed to preserving our natural environment and driving sustainab..

In today's business landscape, sustainability is more than just a buzzword—it's a necessity. Compani..

In a world where environmental responsibility is more talked about than ever, nature-based solutions..

Let’s get to know you

Let's talk about how we can create value together for your sustainability journey.