ShareAction: Responsible fiduciaries must grapple with ESG

first_imgConcerns about the pitiful prospects for millions of people in the UK currently in workplace defined contribution pension schemes is well founded. It should lead trustees and others with responsibility for investment decisions to focus on working assets harder. This should not mean turning over portfolios evermore frequently – it should mean attentive stewardship of companies in pension portfolios based on analysis of the full range of risks that may inhibit returns over the short, medium and long term.The long term is, of course, what counts for most pension savers. To protect the interests of younger savers in particular, there’s a compelling case for fiduciaries to engage with the long-term economic implications of climate change. Lord Stern, the former World Bank chief economist who undertook a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of ignoring climate change, found that “the overall costs and risks of [inaction on] climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever”. He adds: “If a wider range of risks and impacts is taken into account, the estimates of damage could rise to 20% of GDP or more. In contrast, the costs of action – reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – can be limited to approximately 1% of global GDP each year.”Any prudent trustee with responsibility for the retirement savings of people under 45 years of age should be paying close attention to avoiding the potentially devastating impact of climate change on fund valuations in the decades to come. The low-carbon transition our economies must inevitably undergo will not be without some short-term pain, particularly for investors with heavy exposure to high-carbon sectors. Responsible fiduciaries have no choice but to grapple with these challenges. It is hugely encouraging Europe’s pension funds are now doing so.Catherine Howarth is chief executive at ShareAction Catherine Howarth, chief executive at ShareAction, says pension funds have no choice but to grapple with the issue of climate changeIPE deputy editor Daniel Ben-Ami is absolutely right to argue, as he does in his recent comment piece, Keep Politics Out of Pensions, that pension funds’ investment decisions should avoid political bias. The courts have ruled that trustees are barred from bringing their own political or ethical views, however strongly held or well intentioned, into decisions made as fiduciaries of other people’s money. There can be one, and only one, consideration for those who make investment calls with others’ retirement savings: the best interests of the saver.This requirement to secure savers’ best interests, which entails a strong though not exclusive focus on financial interests, is exactly why high-performing pension funds in the UK and across Europe have embraced responsible investment in recent years. The terminology of ‘environmental, social and governance’ (ESG) may be somewhat clumsy, but the wide variety of considerations that fall under that umbrella are demonstrably material to savers’ financial security and quality of life in retirement.Research undertaken by Arabesque Partners in association with Oxford University, published last year, assessed 200 of the highest-quality academic studies examining the economic evidence for sustainability. This showed that 90% of studies find that sound sustainability practices lower companies’ cost of capital, and 88% of studies show that strong ESG performance drives better operational performance by companies. Even when focusing on shareprice performance, 80% of studies find a positive correlation between good sustainability practices and strong share price performance.last_img read more

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Syracuse defense bounces back to guide Orange to 17-point win over Cornell

first_img Published on December 31, 2014 at 8:10 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3 Bill Courtney turned around and started walking to the locker room before the first-half buzzer even stopped sounding.The Cornell head coach had just watched guard Galal Cancer sustain a lot of contact on the final play of the half, and his missed shot was just another in a half that featured 20 Big Red misfires on 25 attempts.“Our defense got to their shooters,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “They’re a good shooting team, we just didn’t let them get comfortable.”Just one game removed from what Boeheim called one of the season’s worst defensive performances, the Orange (9-4) held Cornell (6-7) to 34.5 percent shooting in a 61-44 New Year’s Eve rout in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday in front of 19,288.Syracuse finishes the nonconference season allowing its fourth-lowest scoring output of the season and rides a three-game winning streak into conference play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“You just try and get in transition and that’s when you really focus on your defense,” SU point guard Kaleb Jospeh said. “Hope you get easy baskets going in the fast break. That’s what you do to get things flowing a little bit.”The Orange zone hounded the Big Red around the perimeter all night. Cornell played deep into its own shot clock, sequences that often ended in long and hotly contested 3-point attempts.When JoJo Fallas made the first Cornell basket in eight attempts with seven minutes gone by, it made the score just 6-2.With eight minutes left in the first half and SU up 10-2, Cornell’s Shonn Miller attempted a pass in the corner that Trevor Cooney intercepted before flying down for an uncontested dunk as Miller ran up the court with his head in his arms. Two minutes later, with the score at 12-2, Robert Hatter forced up an awry 3-point attempt as he fell to the ground and the shot clock expired.But the Orange let Cornell stick around in the game to start. The Orange didn’t score until nearly four minutes into the game when Rakeem Christmas finished his spin move with a right-handed floater in the paint.“It’s going to happen,” Cooney said. “You’re not going to make every shot you take. You’ve got to continue to battle and when you’re going to shoot like you did the other day, you’ve got to come down and get stops. And that’s what we did.”But Syracuse’s scoring woes were masked by those of Cornell’s, and were eventually spelled. Cooney nailed a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer off a screen with just seconds left in the first half. And a thunderous Chris McCullough dunk followed by another Cooney 3 started off the second half as SU extended its lead to 28-13.By the time The Big Red started making shots —it had a 7-0 run over a 97-second span midway through the second half — it was too late. Syracuse still led by 16, and would eventually stretch that lead to 21 as the Orange closed out 2014 in style.“We finished very well playing the last few games,” Boeheim said. “…We’ve come through this about as well as we could expect at this stage in the year. We’re playing much, much better.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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