Archiv der Kategorie: Impact

ESG confusion picture shows traffic lights whith green and red at the same tume

ESG confusion and more (Researchposting 114)

ESG confusion: 19x new research on energy, mining, home offices, UN PRI, D&O, ESG ratings, greenwashing, shareholder and bondholder engagements, CEO pay, asset allocation, trading fee, private equity, cryptos

Political (social and ecological) research

Energy tax chaos: Carbon conundrum – How to Save Climate Change Policy from Government Failure by Philip Booth and Carlo Stagnaro from the Institute of Economic Affairs as of Jan. 19th, 2023 (#5): “In principle, environmental taxes and subsidies should reflect externalities. However, in practice, policy is chaotic with tax treatment reflecting the nature of the fuel, who consumes the fuel and for what purpose the fuel is used. … On average, oil products are taxed at €405 per tonne of oil equivalent in the UK and €334 in the EU27, as compared with €135 and €101 for natural gas and €112 and €84 for coal. This is despite the fact that coal, not oil, poses the largest environmental challenges as far as climate change is concerned. … Subsidies were higher for solar photovoltaics (€1,468 per tonne of oil equivalent in the UK and €2,019 in the EU27), followed by wind power (€961 and €743, respectively). Hydro power and bio-energies received, on average, much lower subsidies. … Subsidies to fossil fuels were generally intended to support consumption rather than production. On average, oil, natural gas and coal received €130, €61 and €86 per tonne of oil equivalent in subsidies in the UK and €320, €47 and €27 respectively in the EU27. … The net effect of taxes and subsidies leads to substantially greater net taxes on oil than on natural gas while coal is taxed the least. The level of net taxes on energy sources does not, in any way, relate to the externalities from the energy source” (Viii-X)

Social mining: Mining for Peace by Roland Hodler, Paul Schaudt, and Alberto Vesperoni as of Jan. 25th, 2023 (#9):“The energy transition increases the demand for minerals from ethnically diverse, conflict-prone developing countries. We study whether and where mining is possible in such countries without raising the risk of civil conflict. … A crucial insight is that new mining projects do not necessarily translate into more conflict but may pacify the country under the right conditions and the right policies“ (abstract). My comment: Ca. 1% of my investable ESG universe consists of mining stocks

Good home offices: Time Savings When Working from Home by Cevat Giray Aksoy, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Mathias Dolls, and Pablo Zarate as of Jan. 17th, 2023 (#53): “We quantify the commute time savings associated with work from home, drawing on data for 27 countries. The average daily time savings when working from home is 72 minutes in our sample. … Workers allocate 40 percent of their time savings to their jobs and about 11 percent to caregiving activities. People living with children allocate more of their time savings to caregiving“ (abstract).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my research by investing in and/or recommending my article 9 mutual fund. I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use separate E, S and G best-in-universe minimum ratings. The fund typically scores very well in sustainability rankings, e.g. this free new tool, and the performance is relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T

… continues on page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on January 29th, 2023):

Köngisee Bild von Kordi Vahle von Pixabay als Illustration für Greenhushing

Greenhushing and more (Researchposting 112)

Greenhushing: 15x new research on air quality, ESG audits, emerging markets, methane, private equity, impact tools, engagement, algos, large caps, robo advisors and other fintechs

Social and ecological research

Deadly air: Air quality and suicide by Claudia Persico and Dave E. Marcotte as of Jan. 17th, 2023 (#144): “We conduct the first-ever large-scale study of the relationship between air pollution and suicide using detailed cause of death data from all death certificates in the U.S. between 2003 and 2010. … we find that a 1 g/m3 increase in daily PM2.5 is associated with a 0.49% increase in daily suicides and 0.171 more suicide-related hospitalizations (a 50% increase)” (abstract).

ESG data audits: ESG Assurance in the United States by Brandon Gipper, Samantha Ross, and Shawn X. Shi as of Nov. 21st, 2022 (#307): “We examine the landscape and evolution of ESG assurance in the U.S. from 2010-2020, as well as the determinants of ESG assurance. … We document a remarkable increase in not only the number of firms issuing ESG reports and obtaining assurance but also the number of metrics disclosed and assured within reports. We further document considerable heterogeneity in which metrics receive assurance, differential assurance patterns between non-financial assurors and traditional auditors, and evolving assurance practices. … peer effects and especially ESG reporting frameworks are major determinants of ESG assurance. … the vast majority of ESG assurance is limited and/or process assurance …” (p. 34/35).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my research by investing in and/or recommending my article 9 mutual fund. I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use separate E, S and G best-in-universe minimum ratings. The fund typically scores very well in sustainability rankings, e.g. this free new tool, and the performance is relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T

… continues on page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on January 18th, 2023):

Engagement test illustrated by picture of Hummingbird and water pipe by Pixabay

Engagement test (Blogposting #300)

The background

Engagement test: I am skeptical regarding the effectiveness of shareholder voting and engagements (compare Divestments bewirken mehr als Stimmrechtsausübungen oder Engagement | SpringerLink and Impact Investing mit Voting und Engagement? (Opinionpost #194) – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com).

Nevertheless, I wanted to try an engagement myself. The starting point was a call with a Linkedin contact in April 2022. He mentioned a German engagement startup and introduced me to its founder, David Hamel. David and I talked on May 3rd, 2022 and David suggested to review the portfolio of my investment fund (FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T) for engagement opportunities.

My fund

For my fund, I select 30 stocks globally almost only according to sustainability criteria. I use strict activity and country exclusions and high requirements for environmental, social and governance (ESG) best-in-universe ratings. This means that I do not look for the best ecological, social and governance ratings in pre-defined industries (best-in-class approach), but for the best ESG rated stocks globally across all industries. In addition, I try to include only companies which are best aligned with one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDG).

More focused and therefore often smaller companies can have a better fit with my approach than diversified companies. Unsurprisingly, the median capitalization of the stocks in my portfolio is only slightly higher than 10 billion USD, meaning that a significant part of my stocks are so-called small- or midcaps.

The targets and topics of my engagement test

David’s startup, DeRisk.earth, tries to identify existing engagements as well as potential new engagement topics for stock listed companies worldwide. When I sent David my portfolio, he found no current engagements on any of the stocks by major activists or asset managers. That was to be expected, though, since statistics from MSCI show that for more than 70% of the almost 9000 Stocks in the MSCI ACW IMI Index there are no known active engagements of large asset managers (Net-Zero Alignment: Engaging on Climate Change – MSCI). Also, I try to select the best stocks according to environmental, social and governance ratings. Therefore I did not expect to find many engagements for my portfolio companies.

Comparing different data sources, all of the stocks in my portfolio showed good ESG scores. Nevertheless, David recommended to start an engagement with an US water utility and infrastructure company to try to even further improve that company. The reason for this recommendation was that the company was subject to litigation claims due to a chemicals spill.

My subsequent own analysis of that company made me suggest CO2 improvement, too, and in addition the use of ESG criteria for supplier selection and a supplier ESG improvement program.

The first contacts

On May 30st, we wrote our first Email to the head of investor relations of American Water Works (Amwater) with our suggestions. I mentioned that through the German mutual fund which I advise I only held shares of approximately three hundred thousand US Dollars.

Three weeks later, we received an answer and started an exchange of Emails. To support our proposals we referred to two research studies: Do Scope 3 Carbon Emissions Impact Firms’ Cost of Debt? by Ahyan Panjwani, Lionel Melin, and Benoit Mercereau as of Oct. 17th, 2022  and Making supply-chain decarbonization happen | McKinsey).

Amwater informed us that the learnings from the chemical spill as well as employee education topics were already covered by their Environmental Policy and their educational activities for employees. Therefore, we focused on other points and made our proposal regarding CO2 emissions more concrete. We specifically asked for “clear GHG emission targets, including separately disclosed scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and their alignment with the Paris Agreement” and “comprehensive ESG-evaluation … of all major suppliers and clear minimum ESG-standards for new suppliers and for retention of existing suppliers”. 

First results of my engagement test

On October 31st, Amwater publicly announced new targets: “By 2035, reduce absolute scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 50% (2020 baseline). Achieve net zero scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 2050. First time disclosure of scope 3 emissions”.

On November 9th, we had a videocall with two investor relations representatives, one of them focusing on ESG matters. In this call, we repeated our suggestion to set concrete scope 3 reduction goals. We also proposed to use water companies and not utilities overall as benchmarks. In addition, we suggested improved supplier codes of conduct, ESG evaluations especially for CO2-critical suppliers for fuels, energy and capital goods and supplier ESG audits.  We further exchanged views on topics such as ESG- and climate data and data providers and greenwashing risks. We also agreed to continue our discussions.

Engagement test conclusion

It is very likely that Amwater would have made these public announcements without our input. On the positive side, the direct exchange of information and opinion potentially helped us and perhaps also the company to better understand obstacles towards more sustainability.

In general, shareholder engagement can only focus on a very select number of topics out of the many, which could be improved by almost all companies. And to measure the effects of engagements and the attribution to any one investor seems to be very difficult.

It is probably much more effective to hope that (the leaders of) companies are intrinsically motivated to significantly improve their sustainability. Engagement can very likely be much more effective with such companies than with ESG-skeptics. Also, strict regulation for all market participants may lead to more sustainability. Nevertheless, this case encouraged me to continue testing further engagements.

Disclaimer

Diese Unterlage ist von Soehnholz Asset Management GmbH erstellt worden. Die Erstellerin übernimmt keine Gewähr für die Richtigkeit, Vollständigkeit und/oder Aktualität der zur Verfügung gestellten Inhalte. Die Informationen unterliegen deutschem Recht und richten sich ausschließlich an Investoren, die ihren Wohnsitz in Deutschland haben. Sie sind nicht als Verkaufsangebot oder Aufforderung zur Abgabe eines Kauf- oder Zeichnungsangebots für Anteile des in dieser Unterlage dargestellten Fonds zu verstehen und ersetzen nicht eine anleger- und anlagegerechte Beratung. Anlageentscheidungen sollten nur auf der Grundlage der aktuellen gesetzlichen Verkaufsunterlagen (Wesentliche Anlegerinformationen, Verkaufsprospekt und – sofern verfügbar – Jahres- und Halbjahresbericht) getroffen werden, die auch die allein maßgeblichen Anlagebedingungen enthalten. Die Verkaufsunterlagen werden bei der Kapitalverwaltungsgesellschaft (Monega Kapitalanlagegesellschaft mbH), der Verwahrstelle (Kreissparkasse Köln) und den Vertriebspartnern zur kostenlosen Ausgabe bereitgehalten. Die Verkaufsunterlagen sind zudem im Internet unter www.monega.de erhältlich. Die in dieser Unterlage zur Verfügung gestellten Inhalte dienen lediglich der allgemeinen Information und stellen keine Beratung oder sonstige Empfehlung dar. Die Kapitalanlage ist stets mit Risiken verbunden und kann zum Verlust des eingesetzten Kapitals führen. Vor einer etwaigen Anlageentscheidung sollten Sie eingehend prüfen, ob die Anlage für Ihre individuelle Situation und Ihre persönlichen Ziele geeignet ist. Diese Unterlage enthält ggf. Informationen, die aus öffentlichen Quellen stammen, die die Erstellerin für verlässlich hält. Die Erstellerin übernimmt keine Gewähr oder Garantie für die Richtigkeit und/oder Vollständigkeit dieser Informationen. Die dargestellten Inhalte, insbesondere die Darstellung von Strategien sowie deren Chancen und Risiken, können sich im Zeitverlauf ändern. Einschätzungen und Bewertungen reflektieren die Meinung der Erstellerin zum Zeitpunkt der Erstellung und können sich jederzeit ändern. Es ist nicht beabsichtigt, diese Unterlage laufend oder überhaupt zu aktualisieren. Sie stellt nur eine unverbindliche Momentaufnahme dar.

Trustee or steward? Photo of Eicklingen as illustration

Trustee or steward? Researchblogposting 104

Trustee or steward? 13x new research on climate tech and finance, interest rates, plant-based food, greenwashing, reporting, engagement, benchmarks, age, PFOF, and private equity by Richard Ennis at al.

Social and ecological research: Trustee or steward?

Climate tech advantage: Empirically grounded technology forecasts and the energy transition Rupert Way, Matthew C. Ives, Penny Mealy, and J. Doyne Farmer as of Sept. 21st, 2022: “Most energy-economy models have historically underestimated deployment rates for renewable energy technologies and overestimated their costs. … Here, we use an approach based on probabilistic cost forecasting methods that have been statistically validated by backtesting on more than 50 technologies. … Compared to continuing with a fossil fuel-based system, a rapid green energy transition will likely result in overall net savings of many trillions of dollars—even without accounting for climate damages or co-benefits of climate policy” (p. 1).

Climate interest risk: The effects of climate change on the natural rate of interest: a critical survey by Francesco Paolo Mongelli, Wolfgang Pointner, and Jan Willem van den End as of Nov. 1st, 2022 (#37): “This survey is the first to systematically review the possible effects of climate change on the natural rate of interest. While r* is a theoretical concept, it is used as a benchmark by central banks to assess the stance of their monetary policy and the room for policy manoeuvre. … In most cases, we find that climate change would have a rather dampening effect on r*, which implies a narrower room for manoeuvre for central banks. … the uncertain impact of climate change on main r* may call for an increasing flexibility in the monetary policy strategy, both in terms of objectives and time horizon. …. An orderly transition will mitigate the economic and financial risks of climate change and thereby also prevent potential downward effects on r*. In addition, active fiscal policies to mitigate climate change might also spur investment demand and thereby put upward pressure on the natural rate” (p. 26/27).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my research e.g. by buying my Article 9 fund. The minimum investment is approx. EUR 50 and so far return and risks are relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T: I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings.

Please go to page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on November 15th):

Brille als Bild für den Beitrag German ESG criticism

German ESG criticism: Researchposting 103

German ESG criticism: 14x new research on climate costs, circular economy, infrastructure, ESG, SDG, ratings, transitions, asset allocation, factor investing, REITs and private equity by Elizabeth Pollman, Bernd Scherer, Michael Grote et al.

Social and ecological research

Huge climate costs: The Global Costs of Extreme Weather That Are Attributable to Climate Change by Rebecca Newman and Ilan Noy as of Nov. 3rd, 2022 (#13): “Extreme Event Attribution (EEA), a methodology that examines the degree to which anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions had changed the occurrence of specific extreme weather events … We find that US$ 143 billion per year, of the costs of extreme events during the last twenty years, is attributable to anthropogenic climatic change. … other approaches use macroeconomic modelling embedded within climate models in various types of Integrated Assessment Models (IAM). … evidence that suggests that most IAMs are substantially under-estimating the current economic costs of climate change“ (abstract).

Circular Economy segmentation: Startups and Circular Economy Strategies: Profile Differences, Barriers and Enablers by Wim Van Opstal and Lize Borms as of October 18th, 2022 (#27): “In this paper we presented results from the first survey on circular startups that allows for multivariate statistical analyses … business-to-business and business-to-government markets can be considered as frontrunner markets for circular business models and supporting services for the circular economy. Circular startups mostly consider sustainability and circularity as a comparative advantage, while activities like maintenance and repair, and sharing production means are less often explicitly considered as circular economy activities. … Barriers and enablers vary significantly depending on the circular strategies that are applied …“ (p. 17).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my free research e.g. by buying my Article 9 fund. The minimum investment is around EUR 50. FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T: I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings (compare ESG plus SDG-Alignment mit guter Performance: FutureVest ESG SDG – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com))

Please go to page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on November 8):

Grafik zum Gegensatz von Nachhaltigkeit und Diversifikation

Impact Investing mit Voting und Engagement? (Opinionpost #194)

Impact Investing Vorbemerkung: Dieser Beitrag basiert auf „Divestments bewirken mehr als Stimmrechtsausübungen oder Engagement“ (Söhnholz 2020a).

Impact Investing ist trendy. Idealerweise können Anleger damit ordentliche Renditen erreichen und zugleich die Welt positiv verändern. Beim Kauf börsennotierter Geldanlagen werden Wertpapiere aber nur anderen Anlegern abgekauft und die Herausgeber der Wertpapiere erhalten kein zusätzliches Geld. Anbieter von liquiden Geldanlagen behaupten aber teilweise, dass sie Emittenten, also vor allem Unternehmen, durch Stimmrechtsabgaben und direkte Einflussversuche (Engagement) nachhaltiger machen können. Das sehe ich kritisch. Ich favorisiere die Konzentration liquider Investments auf die bereits nachhaltigsten Emittenten und die Suche nach Nachahmern dafür. Hier sind einige Argumente dafür:

Werbemitteilung: Kennen Sie meinen Artikel 9 Fonds FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T mit Fokus auf soziale SDGs und Midcaps, Best-in-Universe Ansatz, getrennte E, S und G Mindestratings? Erhältlich ab ca. EUR 50 für deutsche Anleger.

Weiter geht es auf Seite 2:

ESG End: Heidefoto von Maria Schuetz als Illustration

ESG End? (Researchblog #98)

ESG End? >10x new research on tourism, waste, health, emerging markets, greenium, ESG ratings,  impact investments, investment frameworks, AI, buyouts and venture capital by Alex Edmans, Timo Busch, Uwe Walz, Christian Thier and others

Social and Ecological research

Dirty vacations: Dirty Dance: Tourism and Environment by Serhan Cevik as of September 26th, 2022 (#7): “… international tourism has a statistically and economically significant effect on CO2 emissions in a relatively homogenous panel of 15 tourismdependent Caribbean countries over the period 1960–2019. … an increase of 10 percent in the number of international visitors is associated with an increase of as much as 8 percent in CO2 emissions …. The negative impact of tourism on environmental quality occurs through several channels in Caribbean countries including carbon-intensive energy production and consumption of material resources in accommodation, transportation and other tourist activities, and changes in land use associated with tourism-related investments” (p. 13).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my free research by buying my Article 9 fund. The minimum investment is around EUR 50. FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T: With my most responsible stock selection approach I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings (see ESG plus SDG-Alignment mit guter Performance: FutureVest ESG SDG – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com))

Please go to page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on September 27th):

Heidebild als Illustration für Proven Impact Investing

Proven Impact Investing? (Researchblog #97)

Proven impact investing: >10x new research on work, midlifes, climate impact, ESG reporting, impact investments, engagement, indexing, client advisors, risk measurement, real estate, fractional shares, stablecoins

Ecological and social research

More homework: Working from home around the world by Cevat Giray Aksoy, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Mathias Dolls, and Pablo Zarate as of September 19, 2022 (#13): “… we survey full-time workers who finished primary school in 27 countries as of mid 2021 and early 2022. … first, that WFH averages 1.5 days per week in our sample, ranging widely across countries. Second, employers plan an average of 0.7 WFH days per week after the pandemic, but workers want 1.7 days. Third, employees value the option to WFH 2-3 days per week at 5 percent of pay … employer plans for WFH levels after the pandemic rise strongly with WFH productivity surprises during the pandemic” (abstract).

Advert: “Sponsor” my free research by buying my Article 9 fund. The minimum investment is around EUR 50. FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T: With my most responsible stock selection approach I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings (see ESG plus SDG-Alignment mit guter Performance: FutureVest ESG SDG – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com))

Please go to page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on September 21st):

Passive positive picture shows clouds above my hometown Eicklingen

Passive positive (Researchblog #96)

Passive positive: >10x new research on youngsters, scope 3, ESG leaders, welfare, ratings, index investing, fractional trading, NFT and more

Social and ecological topics

Slow climate awareness: The Interactions of Social Norms About Climate Change: Science, Institutions and Economics by Antonio Cabrales, Manu García, David Ramos Muñoz, Angel Sánchez as of September 8th, 2022 (#4): “We study the evolution of interest about climate change between different actors of the population … We find large swings over time of said interest for the general public … and little interest among economists …. The general interest science journals and policymakers have a more steady interest, although policymakers get interested much later“ (abstract).

Youngsters push companies: Wireless investors by Sergio Alberto Gramitto Ricci and Christina M. Sautter as of September 6th, 2022 (#135): “Millennials and GenZ’ers are increasingly powerful. … In their various stakeholder roles, they are pressuring corporations to also act … Along with this continued increase in direct investing, we are likely to see Millennials and GenZ’ers desires to directly engage with corporations (p. 12).

Advert: Check my article 9 SFDR fund FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals: With my most responsible stock selection approach I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings, see ESG plus SDG-Alignment mit guter Performance: FutureVest ESG SDG – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

Please continue on page 2:

Zeitungen als Bild für ESG reporting

ESG reporting outperformance? (Researchblog #93)

ESG reporting outperformance: >20x new research on gender, food, climate risk, central banks, voluntary and mandatory ESG reporting and ratings, EU taxonomy, article 9 funds, divestments, voting, (debtholder) engagement, impact, capital costs, banks, conviction, SRI ETFs, islamic funds and real estate

Advert: Check my article 9 SFDR fund FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals (-0,5% YTD). With my most responsible stock selection approach I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings.

Social and Ecological Research

Genderlaw effects: Legal Gender Equality as a Catalyst for Convergence by Can Sever of the International Monetary Fund as of August 10th, 2022 (#4): “This paper … shows that more gender-equal laws facilitate income convergence across countries over time, thereby mitigating income inequality across countries. The results point to large economic gains from moving toward legal gender equality” (p. 26/27).

Continue on page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on August 11th):