The changing landscape of ESG Investment

‘Responsible Investing – Investors’ Perspective on ESG considerations’: Charanjit was the co-host and moderator at a session that was a part CRB’s 6th India and Sustainability Standards conference held over 22-24 November 2019 in New Delhi. Charanjit’s session focused on highlighting the likely risks to investments from not including ESG as a criteria in the evaluation process. Participants discussed the approach and progress made by global investors towards integrating ESG risks into their investment decision making process.

The session also explored the current perspective of Indian investors and the status of ESG conversations among the financial community in India, focusing on existing actions (including engagement with companies) and challenges. It further showcased investors’ view on policy changes required in India to push the ESG agenda in capital markets and the banking system and the companies’ perspective on the Investors’ ESG demands.

Charanjit talked about the genesis of ESG considerations and the business case supporting investment in organisations compliant with these practices. Stating that there is clear incremental growth in focusing on good practices, Charanjit highlighted that investors in India primarily focus on Corporate Governance issues in their investment decision making, whereas social and environmental factors are yet to be taken seriously. He believed that within the next few years, ESG would be one of the most important considerations while assessing an investment. Charanjit invited the speakers to shed light on their experience as pro-ESG investors.

Key takeaways/recommendations from session were:
  1. Articulate and convey the business case for adopting ESG practices.
  2. Build awareness and knowledge among companies so that they see the value in adopting ESG considerations.
  3. Banks and investor agencies should consider ESG compliance as core factors while assessing a portfolio.
  4. Evidence-based policies, a performance-based matrix, regulators and boards can all play an important role in ESG adoption.

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