Needless to say, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing has been one of the few bright spots in 2020. Even during a challenging second quarter for the capital markets, ESG index funds reached $250 billion in assets.
Per a CNBC report, “the number of sustainability-focused index funds, and their assets, have doubled over the past three years, according to a report from Morningstar released Wednesday. The financial research firm said that as of the end of the second quarter 2020, there were 534 index funds focused on sustainability, overseeing a combined $250 billion. In the U.S., which has lagged Europe in ESG investing, assets in sustainable index funds have quadrupled in the last three years and now represent 20% of the total.”
“There’s a great realization today that ESG issues are investment issues,” said Alex Bryan, Morningstar’s director of passive strategies research for North America, in an interview with CNBC. “They’re issues that can affect the bottom line, and that may not always be something that comes to bear immediately. But it’s something that I think more people are starting to understand is aligned with shareholder value maximization,” he said.
ETF investors looking for plays in ESG can look to funds like the FlexShares STOXX US ESG Impact Index Fund (CBOE: ESG). For investors who want ESG exposure, as well as global diversification, can look to the FlexShares STOXX Global ESG Impact Index Fund (CBOE: ESGG).
ESG seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the STOXX® USA ESG Impact Index. The underlying index is designed to reflect the performance of a selection of companies that, in aggregate, possess greater exposure to ESG characteristics relative to the STOXX® USA 900 Index, a float-adjusted market-capitalization weighted index of U.S.- incorporated companies. Under normal circumstances, the fund will invest at least 80% of its total assets in the securities of the underlying index.
ESGG seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the STOXX® Global ESG Impact Index. The index is designed to reflect the performance of a selection of companies that, in aggregate, possess greater exposure to environmental, social, and governance characteristics relative to the STOXX® Global 1800 Index, a float-adjusted market-capitalization weighted index of companies incorporated in the U.S. or in developed international markets. The fund will invest at least 80% of its total assets in the securities of the index and in ADRs and GDRs based on the securities in the index.
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