UNEP, Investment Firms Report: 'Show Me the Money'

UNEP, Investment Firms Report: 'Show Me the Money'

Fourteen of the world's largest investment companies have launched a ground-breaking report for the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

The report, entitled "Show Me the Money," confirms the growing importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns to the global investment industry. UNEP FI is a unique public-private partnership between UNEP and more than 160 banks, insurers and asset managers.

"There is a growing worldwide understanding of the pivotal role the investment community and capital market actors have to play in addressing critical ESG challenges," explained Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and United Nations Undersecretary General.

"At the same time, the mainstream investment community is waking to the burgeoning opportunities associated with sustainability promoting companies, technologies and investment funds. From clean-tech, to renewables and ecosystem services, the growth industries of the 21st century are emerging at an accelerated pace," added the head of UNEP.

"Show Me the Money" is a 47-page summary report synthesizing more than 1,000 pages of research from the mainstream financial analyst community. The report draws on work by a group of leading financial institutions and covers the impact of qualitative and new risk issues on company value. Industries covered include the auto-industry, aerospace and defense, the media, and the food and beverage industries.

Highlights from several of the sector reports include:

On corporate governance issues the Deutsche Bank AG's report states: "Recognizing the materiality of corporate governance on equity performance and valuation is just one step on the path to more rigorous equity analysis……It is now increasingly accepted that corporate governance, environmental and social factors are components of a company's equity risk premium."

On obesity and the food and beverage industry JP Morgan Securities Ltd.'s report states: "Growing awareness of the relationship between diet and health and in particular of serious health risks posed by obesity is having a major impact on consumer purchasing behaviours and choices that will durably impact and reshape the food and beverages industry."

The media sector report by Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research states: "We find that companies that demonstrate leadership on our ESG framework, a proxy for quality of management over the long term, lead their sub-sector peers on long-term cash returns. In addition, we also focus on companies showing improvement in ESG performance as we believe that such companies possess a view towards management for the long term, likely to result in improvements in cash returns."

The auto industry report by CM-CIC Securities states: "The rise in resource prices and particularly the exploding oil price is the hard lesson that the automakers need, to understand that current modes of combustion probably do not constitute the long-term solution. The industry must begin looking for alternatives. Automakers, oil companies, governments and consumers all need to start preparing themselves today for the reality of long-term high prices for black gold."

"Show Me the Money" is the second such synthesis report in the UNEP FI "Materiality Series" launched by the partnerships Asset Management Working Group. The first "Materiality Report," published in June 2004, explored the impact of ESG risks on the equity value of listed companies in different industry and business sectors. The report launched today builds on this work and provides coverage across additional industry sectors.

"Show Me the Money" is published just over two months after United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan launched the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. More than 70 institutional investors from 16 countries and representing more than $4.5 trillion have now signed the UNPRI.

"With the launch of both UNPRI and "Show Me the Money" we can see that some of the largest and most concentrated pools of capital are sending clear signals to the whole investment chain indicating that ESG issues are material and must be integrated into investment analysis, decision-making and action," explained Paul Clements-Hunt, Head, UNEP Finance Initiative.

Download "Show Me the Money" online (PDF).