Submitted by: International Finance Corporation
Categories: Socially Responsible Investing
Posted: Nov 30, 2007 – 09:18 AM EST
WASHINGTON, DC - November 29, 2007 - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has appointed Mercer to undertake the first in-depth research on how prevalent environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors are in emerging market investments.
Specifically, Mercer will survey fund managers operating in emerging markets to identify and highlight those that integrate ESG factors in their investment processes.
The research aims to facilitate investments in sustainability-conscious emerging market funds and to signal to fund managers the growing worldwide demand for sustainable investment products. The survey will include a list of identified fund managers, with information on their capacity to integrate ESG factors.
The results will be made publicly available and communicated to investment communities throughout major developed and emerging markets.
"The survey will enable Mercer to integrate ESG analysis within fundamental manager research, sending a message to the market that this integration is both important and relevant," said Helga Birgden, Mercer's Head of Responsible Investment for Asia Pacific. "We are proud to partner with IFC, and we look forward to providing institutional investors with ESG research on emerging market managers."
"While investments in emerging markets are surging, so is the demand for fund managers capable of integrating ESG factors into their emerging market investments. However, an Economist Intelligence Unit study commissioned by IFC shows that 65 percent of asset owners are not able to find such investment managers," said Cecilia Bjerborn, IFC Project Manager. "We expect that this survey will provide asset owners with a greater understanding of the trends and competitive forces around ESG factors in emerging markets. We are very pleased to be working with Mercer, a proven leader in responsible investment."
The project will run for about 12 months and has three major components. First, Mercer will undertake a global survey of equity managers operating in emerging markets, including those based in developed countries, to review their approaches to ESG factors. Second, there will be an in-depth review of mainstream equity managers in Brazil, China, India, and South Korea to assess the extent to which they are assessing ESG risks or opportunities. Third, the project will assess the range of "sustainable investment" branded funds that are offering emerging market products and their total assets to date.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC's vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Mercer is a leading global provider of consulting, outsourcing and investment services.
In 2004, Mercer's investment consulting business formed a specialist global Responsible Investment business unit, dedicated to developing intellectual capital in this field. In this unit, Mercer works with investment fiduciaries around the world to implement responsible investment programs, offering a range of services - from policy development to manager selection and monitoring. The 11-person team has staff in New York, Toronto, London, Tokyo, and Melbourne. For more information, visit www.mercer.com/ri
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