It is generally accepted that the finance industry has been lagging behind other industries in terms of adopting sustainability practices. This is particularly true when it comes to product development, one of the most material sustainability issues. Could greater transparency provide an effective mechanism to spur the industry into action? Recent data suggests it might, but also reveals that there is quite a long way to go before most investment can be considered responsible, long-term oriented and therefore sustainable.

Whereas companies in many industries, such as industrial equipment, consumer goods or other manufacturing activities, have made significant efforts over the last few decades to improve their products’ environmental footprint and make them more “responsible,” the finance industry has only recently started to address its role as the main provider of capital and how it could better align its core business activities with long-term societal needs and environmental constraints.

Cécile Churet is Sustainability Investing Client Specialist at RobecoSAM where she serves as a bridge between institutional clients looking for new ways to integrate financially material ESG factors across all asset classes and the firm’s research and product development activities. 

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