While reverberations of the surprise US electoral outcome will unfold for quite some time, at Cornerstone Capital Group we wanted to take a moment to consider the landscape in which we and our clients operate in the field of sustainable finance.
With a market cap of over US$6 trillion, the extractive sector encompasses over 5,000 companies. It provides raw materials for everything from energy creation to high-tech manufacturing to electronics. Even as the world starts to transition from greenhouse gas emitting commodities like oil and coal, natural resource extraction will remain essential. Smartphones and electric vehicles, for instance, require metals sourced from extractive operations around the world. Yet natural resource extraction is, by its very nature, environmentally destructive and socially disruptive — and managing the risks inherent in mining is of prime concern to extractive companies and the host countries in which they operate. Extractive companies’ success will be in part determined by their ability to position themselves for this future.
On October 20, the Detroit Health Department announced an investigation into two cases of Hepatitis A potentially linked to Whole Foods’ stores. Whole Foods contacted the Detroit Health Department to report one of the cases, while the second case has not been definitively linked to Whole Foods. While we view the reporting of this incident to health officials as positive, we have concerns about the grocery chain’s food safety preparedness given its exposure to prepared/ready-to-eat food and its lack of food safety disclosure.
Recent survey results indicate a move away from antibiotics in emerging market poultry production. Our read of the survey results is that investors should be cautious assuming that growth in emerging market poultry production will translate into similar growth in medicated feed additives.
Consensus estimates for 2017 seem overly optimistic; a single-digit gain in 2017 EPS seems more plausible.
For most sectors, the likelihood of adverse ESG events and their potential financial impacts evolve through a lifecycle. ESG lifecycles determine the time it takes for a sustainability issue to become relevant to a sector as well as the magnitude of the financial impact. We believe the ability to anticipate ESG lifecycles can enhance the investment decision-making process.
US markets moving away from antibiotics; our thesis remains intact. In our October 5, 2015, report Antibiotics and Animal Health: Value-Chain Implications in the US, we posited that consumer demand could push food supply chain companies to phase out antibiotics beyond the level required by FDA guidelines. We are seeing this play out as a… Read more »
Increasing automation will change the composition of the US workforce. Women face greater risk of job loss due to computerization, and “lower risk” jobs typically dominated by women pay less than low risk male-dominated jobs.
We maintain a cautious sector strategy, with most sectors experiencing earnings estimate reductions. Our regional strategy is also selective.