With this edition of The Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance and Banking (JSFB) we’d like to ensure that everyone in the sustainable investing community is aware that we have shifted from a monthly publication schedule to an ongoing series of blog posts enabling us to provide more timely commentary on behalf of the Cornerstone network of clients and colleagues. But at this midway point of the year we offer a compilation of our work focusing on “Governance and Impact.”

In recent months, global markets have been monitoring geopolitical tensions, and at the same time showing heightened sensitivity to prospective unwinding of post-crisis accommodative monetary policy by central banks despite the lack of inflationary pressures. Turning to the US in particular, there seems little concrete evidence of improving economic growth despite the optimism seen at the start of the year around an agenda for infrastructure and tax reform. Yet corporate profits are maintaining a strong trajectory, as are share prices.

All that said, the private sector continues to make efforts to drive the economy forward despite challenges ranging from the threats to globalization and multilateralism, to those of cybersecurity and climate change. What’s most critical is that the voices of reason and pragmatism be raised. And in this edition of the JSFB, we highlight those voices. As an example, we speak out for the freedom of shareholders to be able to submit proposals despite the threat to this ability in the push to reform financial regulation. We speak out for transparency through corporate disclosure of climate risk and opportunities.  And we speak out for the freedoms that will come from addressing critical issues including water scarcity, income inequality, and risks from automation.

At a time when it appears that many freedoms are under threat, we’re reminded of the State of the Union speech by Franklin D Roosevelt in 1941.  FDR spoke of economic and human security, and he spoke of the “Four Freedoms” – Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want.”  At Cornerstone, we shall seek to do our share in the financial markets to help make this a reality.

To download our first-half JSFB compilation, click here.