A better tomorrow through sustainable investing: bringing purposeful investment opportunities to the individual investor

Learn from the thought leaders in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investing—Schroders Singapore CEO Susan Soh, Singapore Green Finance Centre Co-Director Dave Fernandez and Aberdeen Standard Investments Senior Investment Director David Smith as they cover a wide range of topics about ESG investing.

0:00 Introduction about Endowus ESG offerings

3:37 Introduction by speakers

5:50 Interest rates and higher liquidity in the market

11:40 How do we define ESG investing  

16:00 How Schroders approaches on ESG investing and ESG fund solutions

21:30 How Aberdeen approaches on ESG investing and ESG fund solutions

25:40 Mission and Vision of the Singapore Green Finance Centre

34:20 Can you get higher returns from ESG investing as we do good?

45:50 What can individuals and industries do to improve financial literacy around ESG?

50:50 Gender diversity is overated?

57:50 Poll results: What aspect of ESG investing resonates most with you

How do we define ESG Investing? And how do we understand the different terms (impact investing, climate funds etc)? (11:40​)

David: There are many interpretations of ESG Investing. Broadly speaking, ESG investing involves understanding how companies are operated and their impact that they have on the environment, on society and on the corporate governance funds.

Across industries, it will mean different things for different companies. Some companies may have a greater impact in climate change, in the way they manage supply chain, and labor force or the impact that they have on the local community,

This consequently lead to different measurement of ESG factors across different Industries for ESG investing.

When it is specifically comes to investing, there are many different terms that were invented. One way to categorise ESG investing is to think of it as a spectrum of different types of ESG investing.

On the far left of the spectrum is an exclusionary strategy. The negative exclusion approach is when investors wants to express their political, social and ethical beliefs in the way they invest.

On the far right, a more integrative approach is taken, where there isn’t a hard constrain.  Fund managers would take a holistic approach to understanding investment opportunities and the negative impact that these companies might have. Fund managers also assess how companies manage certain transitions that we are facing around the world.

In the last 2-3 years, especially after COVID-19, there is a movement towards looking at positive impact that companies can bring instead of looking at it from a negative impact angle.

How is Schroders contributing to the ESG investment solutions? (16:00)

We do it by being responsible guardians of our clients’ assets by considering the different ESG factors that can impact our clients’ investments. We also actively manage those risk by engaging the companies that we invest in to influence and direct positive changes. This engagement applies for our equities, credit and private investments. We have a framework that we apply consistently across asset classes.

We also leverage on our voting rights as an active investor, and we actively vote on shareholder resolution. As a company we also have corporate social responsibility strategy, which is developed at the group level around the UN sustainability themes that are important to our stakeholders. They are climate change, which we believe will be a key driver for the economy and the financial markets for many years to come. The other one will be our social priorities. We are a signatory to the UN PRI, and have be rated A1 for 6 consecutive years. We have also committed to an integrated ESG consideration for all our investments since last year (2020). We have also reached carbon neutrality for all our operations last year.

In terms of social priorities, we are also implementing fair workplace practices, which will mean giving equal opportunities to all our employees. We also signed up an investment statement against slavery and human trafficking.

Can you share more about the initiative around the Singapore Green Finance Centre (25:40)

Taking a step back, the Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics (which launched the Green Finance Centre) essentially tries to take the best ideas out there and make a real solution for society. We made sustainability one of our emerging areas of focus in the Institute.

We were thrilled when MAS announced at the Singapore FinTech Festival ( in Q4 2019)of its ambition to make Singapore a global leader in Green Finance. That was extremely exciting to the entire Community. Part of that was to develop a center of excellence centres of excellence in the area of Green Finance.

Within a few weeks, we were at SMU and we were in front of MAS, pitching an idea at the end of 2019. We did that together with Imperial College London. We worked all through 2020 on with MAS during COIVD and we went out to the Finance industry. We were able to get Schroders,  Fullerton and and seven Banks as the nine Founding Partners to donate and to support this new initiative.

The idea of the Singapore Green Finance Center is to achieve the ambition of putting Singapore as a leader in this global conversation by bringing the ecosystem together

We bring the university rigor and dispassionate view both from Imperial College who's already gotten a head start for the past four years. My partner Charlie Donovan heads up a center that's been around for four plus years at Imperial focused on climate Finance. So will leverage off their expertise. They've already started in at SMU we have as I said for the past few years also made it an initiative.

We'd like to be leaning our actions towards the private sector and follow the money. We hope that academia also plays an important role. But in order for this urgent problem to really have capital redeployed in a way that can make a meaningful difference. It needs to be led by the private sector. We decided not to let the academics to find what research to use because that'll take a long time.

We want to have shorter impactful research that will help the industry or add things like standards and measurements. There also have dialogues with our Founding Partners to build a talent pipeline. There is not a lot of expertise in the industry, we have to upgrade upskill the folks who are already in the financial sector.


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