Ten ESG themes for investors to consider in 2020 that could help advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be available in a research report coming out Thursday from ESG research and analytics firm Sustainalytics.
While past research reports have looked at specific themes, this year Sustainalytics assessed the 10 themes against the 17 goals, making the case that firms exposed to the themes "could positively contribute to the achievement of applicable SDGs," the report said. Their universe covered 11,000 companies.
This year is important, the report noted, because "the 10-year countdown to achieve the SDGs by 2030 has begun."
As recognition grows that SDGs and rates of return are not at cross-purposes, "we contend that the SDGs encapsulate many of the most exciting upside opportunities in today's equity markets and are closely linked with global economic growth and overall macroeconomic health," the report said.
Within the SDG goals of scaling big tech, the report looks at how 5G will create opportunities, and how digitization of the mining industry can reduce cost and capture ESG value.
Under health and society goals, the report covers opportunities for medical device producers that have internet connections and apparel companies implementing slow fashion principles.
Examples of working towards SDG goals on ecosystem stewardship are how a new global sulphur cap for fuel oil will cost the shipping industry, and how some banks are factoring biodiversity risk into credit assessments.
SDG goals on mitigating climate change are assessed through the examples of some leading oil and gas majors diversifying into low-carbon products as concerns about high-carbon business models increases, and reinsurers addressing climate risk by readjusting premiums and using artificial intelligence in climate models.