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Sustainalytics Reporter October 2014
Issue 22 - October 2014

IRRI Survey 2014 – Only a few days left to share your views and cast your vote!

Independent Research in Responsible Investment Survey 2014

Once again EXTEL We Convene and have teamed up to produce the Independent Research in Responsible Investment (IRRI) Survey. The annual survey gathers insights from industry players and will also recognise excellence in the world of responsible investment. For the third year in a row Sustainalytics enters the race for best ESG research firm, best SRI & corporate governance analyst and best SRI sales representative. Visit our website to learn more about our nominees.

If you haven’t already done so, please visit the IRRI survey page and cast your vote. Your feedback and comments will inform not only our service offerings, but also those of all providers to better meet your ESG research needs. Click here to complete the survey

Analysts' Insights

Read Beyond the Label: What palm oil certification really means
by Francesca Favorini-Csorba

Francesca Favorini-Csorba - Junior Analyst, Research ProductsThe Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was established to develop a standard for "sustainable" production; however, not all types of RSPO certifications are created equal. Investors should be aware of the various certification programmes in order to find companies seeking the certification that aligns with investors' sustainability goals.

Read "Read Beyond the Label..."

Predatory Payday Loans: A vicious cycle of debt
by Monica Purdescu

Monica Perdescu - Junior Analyst, Research Products

The booming quick credit/payday lending industry is viewed by many as preying on some of the least advantaged segments of the population. As regulators impose stricter rules and requirements on short-term lending companies, these companies and their investors face operational, regulatory and reputational risks.

Read "Predatory Payday Loans..."

Sustainalytics' Perspective

Asia Insight - Investing in Commodities in South East Asia: An ESG Perspective 

Asia Insight - Investing in Commodities in South East Asia: An ESG Perspective

In May 2014, Sustainalytics organised its first corporate access field trip, ESG on the Ground with a special focus on investing in commodities in Southeast Asia. Drawing on the insights gained from the meetings and site visits during the trip, this report presents the key environmental, social and governance risks associated with the value chain of four key commodities in Southeast Asia: palm oil, coal, tin, and oil and gas. The ESG performance of selected major Asian players for these commodities is also assessed.

Click here to download the latest Asia Insight report.

Click here to learn more about Sustainalytics' ESG on the Ground corporate access field trips.

Key Issue Report Series - Spotlight on Responsible Finance

Key Issue Report - Banks and Responsible Finance

As a follow up to our in-depth banking sector report released over the summer “Banks: Like a phoenix from the ashes?”, Sustainalytics produced a series of Key Issue Reports — three stand-alone reports each focused on a key ESG issue in the sector. Business Ethics, Resilience, Responsible Finance, Product Governance and Human Capital were all identified as issues that played a material role in the successes and failures of the global bank industry.

Download our Key Issue Report on Banks and Responsible Finance today.

If you’re interested in receiving the full sector report or the other publications in our Key Issues series, please email

Upcoming Sector Reports for 2014

Sector Report - Banks: Like a phoenix from the ashes (?)Over the summer, Sustainalytics was pleased to launch the new format for our in-depth sector reports. The first report focused on the banking sector and evaluated the potential sustainability and business impacts of five material environmental, social and governance issues for banks. Sustainalytics also produced shorter, stand-alone reports focused on one particular ESG issue.

As part of our continuing mission to provide investors with the relevant ESG information and analysis they need to make informed investment decisions, Sustainalytics will release a number of sector reports in the coming months covering the pharmaceuticals industry,  aerospace and defence, utilities, and more. Keep an eye on your inbox for more.

Inside Sustainalytics

New Hires Reflective of Focus on Governance

Over the past year, Sustainalytics has grown tremendously and now stands at over 180 staff members in 14 locations worldwide. Our expanding team not only supports our current research and analysis but will also help to enhance our capabilities in the area of corporate governance.

Gary L. Hewwitt CFA - Director, Governance Research

In August, Gary Hewitt became the new head of corporate governance research and leads the development of an expanded suite of corporate governance research and data products which will be integrated with Sustainalytics’ existing market-leading ESG research solutions.                                                        

Cheryl Gustitus - Global Direct, Marketing and Strategic Initiatives

The firm also welcomed Cheryl Gustitus as global director, marketing and strategic initiatives. She leads the company’s marketing and communications programmes and will also play a part in rolling out the firm’s expanded governance product suite. Learn more about Gary, Cheryl and our other new staff members by visiting our team page. 

Sustainability Bond Services Continue to Attract Interest

Sustainalytics Sustainability Bond Services

Sustainalytics’ Sustainability Bond Services continues to attract the attention of issuers interested in bringing their bonds to market. In September, Cross Keys Homes, a U.K.-based, not-for-profit housing association, issued a £150 million ESG bond aligned with its environmental and social commitments. Drafted with Sustainalytics, the bond framework provides criteria for use of proceeds, management of proceeds and reporting on allocations. In October, Dutch financial institution BNG Bank announced plans to issue its first ESG bond. BNG Bank solicited a review from Sustainalytics of its bond framework before taking it to potential investors. (Click here to read our opinion on the framework)

At a recent event hosted by Humanis in Paris, France, Sustainalytics’ responsible investment manager Jean-Florent Helfre was part of a panel on the evolving green bond space. Joined by Gregory Schneider-Maunoury, head of SRI at Humanis Gestion d'Actifs, and Christophe Garot, CSR Head of Sustainability at Unibail Rodamco, they discussed the future development of the green bond market, shared experiences around the issuance of a bond (Unibail Rodamco issued a real estate green bond in early 2014) and discussed the role of rating agencies in developing green bond frameworks and providing opinions on them.

Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking Launched 

Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking

On September 16, regional broadcaster Channel NewsAsia, along with its partners CSR Asia and Sustainalytics, launched the Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking for Asia’s top businesses. As the first of its kind in Asia, the ranking identifies and celebrates the leading firms in corporate sustainability across ten key Asian economies: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

Topping the inaugural list was India’s Tata Consultancy Services for its efforts in water conservation. Singapore real estate developer City Developments was second while Unilever Indonesia ranked third.

It is hoped that the Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking provides businesses and their stakeholders with an annual benchmark to measure sustainability performance and spurs improvements. The ranking certainly seems to have piqued the interest of Asian corporations. As Annie White, Sustainalytics’ associate director of research and manager of this ranking project, wrote in a recent blog post: “Indeed, throughout the corridors of this year’s CSR Asia Summit, companies from across Asia are already buzzing about their intended performance on next year’s ranking.” 

Sustainability on the Agenda at WorldPensionSummit 2014

This year's summit will see sustainability on the agenda for the first time and Sustainalytics CEO Michael Jantzi will be moderating the closing keynote panel Integrating ESG into Long-Term Thinking: Identifying Risks and Capturing Opportunities. Michael will be joined by:

  • Eloy Lindeijer, CIO, PGGM,
  • Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director, Principles for Responsible Investment and
  • Lloyd Kurtz, CIO Nelson Capital Management.

2014 Sustainalytics Awards for Excellence Announced

The winners were announced during this year’s PRI Academic Network Conference in Montreal, Canada. According to PRI Academic Network Manager, Katherine Ng, “the quality of submissions this year was outstanding overall, making the work of the judging panel ever difficult.” Congratulations to the winners!

Sustainalytics works with South Africa's NOAH Capital Markets

Sustainalytics is pleased to be working with NOAH Capital Markets to raise awareness and build capacity around responsible investing in the region. Through this collaboration, NOAH will provide its investor clients with timely ESG research and analysis from Sustainalytics, allowing them to develop and enhance their responsible investment strategies.

The collaboration will enable NOAH’s clients to:

  • Access a wide range of expertise in ESG integration and RI policy development and implementation;
  • Obtain support in understanding how ESG factors may affect company performance; and
  • Receive ad-hoc structural ESG research and analysis to underpin investment processes. 


Analysts' Insights

Sustainalytics' Perspective

Inside Sustainalytics


Sustainalytics in the Media

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5 November, 2014
World Pension Summit - The Hague, the Netherlands

27 November, 2014
2014 RIAA Conference - Melbourne, Australia 

9 & 10 December, 2014
RI Americas - New York City

Visit our website for a full listing of events

Rethinking prosperity: Government and Business Coming Together

12 November, 2014, 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm EST

View upcoming events in the Toronto Sustainability Speakers Series.


Sustainalytics nabs ex-GMI and ISS research head Hewitt for major governance push - (paywall)

Gebruik ESG-criteria schaadt performance niet ("Using ESG doesn't impair performance") - fondsNieuws (in Dutch)

Ecofi Investissements les surveille depuis trois ans (Ecofi Investments monitors controversies fo the past three years) - (in French)

Sustainalytics on sustainable banking -

Key Considerations for Navigating Green Bond Issuances - RI Insights 

The bottom line is a sustainability one Financial Times


Sustainalytics | Your responsible investment partner

Sustainalytics supports investors around the world with the development and implementation of responsible investment strategies. The firm partners with institutional investors, pension plans, and asset managers that integrate environmental, social and governance information and assessments into their investment decisions.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, Sustainalytics has offices in Boston, Bucharest, Frankfurt, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Timisoara and Toronto, and representatives in Bogotá, Brussels, Copenhagen and Washington, D.C. The firm has 180 staff members, including more than 100 analysts with varied multidisciplinary expertise and thorough understanding of more than 40 industries.