We believe good environmental, social, and governance practices can be additive to performance.
Submitted by: OppenheimerFunds
Posted: Jul 16, 2018 – 11:00 AM EST
NEW YORK, Jul. 16 /CSRwire/ - By George Evans, Chief Investment Officer for Equities, OppenheimerFunds.
The investment interest around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria is growing among a wide variety of investors, but the concept isn’t new. ESG factors have been and are important to any holistic understanding of a business. In some ways, they are the most foundational or bedrock investment issues, and we have found in our own strategies that good ESG practices at companies can be additive to investment performance. The reason is quite straightforward: ESG characteristics matter in a very real economic sense.
ESG miscues can derail a company’s ability to create economic value for its shareholders on an ongoing basis. Increasingly, companies are realizing that it is in their business interests to perform well against ESG criteria. Although they articulate separately, environmental, social and governance standards are almost never separate and distinct. They can interact with one another, often positively, sometimes negatively, and have important implications for the sustainability and durability of a company’s business economics.
ESG Supports Long-Term Value Creation
For nearly 50 years, the Global Equity Team at OppenheimerFunds has had a consistent aspiration. We seek to be long-term investors in above-average businesses that have significant competitive advantages, and that are beneficiaries of structural shifts in economic growth, technology, and demographics. Capturing the compounded effects of these structural shifts requires longer-than-average holding periods, which is generally our approach. Thus, it is clear that any business that is capable of long-term value creation for its shareholders must excel at ESG.
In our experience, long-term value creation is not possible for companies entangled with ESG controversies. History is riddled with examples of companies that performed poorly on one or more of these criteria—and shareowners ultimately paid a heavy price. Perhaps the most recent headline-grabbing incident involving an environmental disaster was the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The project sponsor, British Petroleum, saw its share price quickly decline by 50%. Moreover, the total cost to BP (i.e., its shareowners), taking into account fines and cleanup costs, exceeded $50 billion. So ESG is a very real topic with very real economic consequences if things go wrong. This is why we have, for nearly 50 years, treated these issues with the significance they warrant, and we did so long before the letters “ESG” appeared in print.
Informed Judgment Is Required
ESG, like everything else we confront as investors, demands informed judgment. The durability and trajectory of any given set of business economics can be enhanced or hindered by corporate performance on these criteria, and that is why we spend considerable time on ESG-related investment considerations. They have always been relevant, and they will continue to be so.
To learn more about how we think about environmental, social, and governance factors and integrate them into our research process, read our white paper, A Holistic Approach to Evaluating ESG.
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OppenheimerFunds, Inc., a leader in global asset management, is dedicated to providing solutions for its partners and end investors. OppenheimerFunds, including its subsidiaries, manages more than $246 billion in assets for over 13 million shareholder accounts, including sub-accounts, as of June 29, 2018.
Founded in 1959, OppenheimerFunds is an asset manager with a history of providing innovative strategies to its investors. The firm’s 16 investment management teams specialize in equity, fixed income, alternative, multi-asset, and factor and revenue-weighted-ETF strategies, including ESG as a signatory of the UN PRI. OppenheimerFunds and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of products and services to clients, who range from pensions and endowments to financial advisors and individual investors. OppenheimerFunds and certain of its subsidiaries provide advisory services to the Oppenheimer family of funds, and OFI Global Asset Management offers solutions to institutions. The firm is also active through its Philanthropy & Community initiative: 10,000 Kids by 2020, reaching children with introductions to math literacy programs.
OppenheimerFunds is not undertaking to provide impartial investment advice or to provide advice in a fiduciary capacity.
Mutual funds and exchange traded funds are subject to market risk and volatility. Shares may gain or lose value. The stocks of companies with favorable ESG practices may underperform the stock market as a whole.
These views represent the opinions of OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and are not intended as investment advice or to predict or depict the performance of any investment. These views are as of the publication date, and are subject to change based on subsequent developments.
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