The Northern Global Sustainability Index fund, investing in companies that promote leading environmental, social and governance practices, was introduced today by Northern Trust, confirmed spokeswoman Alexis Geocaris. The fund tracks the KLD Global Sustainability Index, produced by KLD Research & Analytics, which weights by market capitalization large-cap and midcap companies in developed markets in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The index has 693 companies ranked by KLD in a comprehensive environmental, social and governance screening process. The new fund indicates that investing and socially conscious philosophies continue to merge, Shaun Murphy, team leader of global index management, said in a news release. The fund employs an approach that attempts to identify companies with long-term, sustainable value, he said.
The index has a total market capitalization of $14.6 trillion. Microsoft Corp., Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Procter & Gamble Co., Vodafone Group PLC and HSBC Bank PLC are the largest companies in the index in terms of market cap.
Foundations and endowments have expressed interest in the fund, Ms. Geocaris said. Northern Trust has no plans to market the fund to pension or defined contribution plans, although it might after the fund has a track record, she said.