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Industry News

Although climate change is one of the largest systemic risk factors, less than half of the largest companies acknowledge it in their annual reports

By Leah Golob |

 

Responsible Investment Week kicked off on Monday with a panel discussion calling for certain improvements to current responsible investing (RI) practices.

The Responsible Investment Association (RIA) organized the week's events in an effort to bring education and awareness to RI, particularly as it relates to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

"Systemic risk is the next frontier for ESG," said Michael Jantzi, CEO of Amsterdam-based Sustainalytics during the panel discussion, which was led by the RIA's incoming CEO, Dustyn Lanz.

One way to address systemic risk is by focusing on United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, which address issues such as income inequality and quality education.

"Climate change is probably one of the broadest systemic risks facing everyone, but it's a broader issue than just carbon," adds Judy Cotte, vice president and head of corporate governance and RI with Toronto-based RBC Global Asset Management.

In fact, KPMG's Corporate Responsibility Reporting Survey 2017 found that only 48% of the world's 250 largest companies acknowledge climate change as a risk in their annual reports.

"We definitely have a long way to go," Cotte says.

Nevertheless, the week's events are also meant to bring attention to RI's significant growth, as it now accounts for approximately 38% of assets under management (AUM) in Canada and 26% of AUM globally, according to the RIA.

For more on the events taking place during RI Week, visit the RIA's website.

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