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Global Sustainable Investement Alliance

United States In the US, approximately 11 percent of assets under professional management are invested according to sustainable investing strategies. This represents total sustainable investing assets of US$ 3.74 trillion, a 22-percent increase since year-end 2009. US SIF Foundation, the supporting organization to US SIF, has been tracking the growth and trends in sustainable investing since 1995. In its 2012 survey, it found growth across all major asset classes and investment strategies. As in Europe and Canada, institutional investors dominate the sustainable investing landscape. Institutional asset owners across the United States now consider environmental, social or corporate governance criteria in investment analysis and portfolio selection for aggregate assets of US$ 2.48 trillion, a 23-percent increase since the start of 2010. This growth reflects, in large part, the growing incorporation of ESG issues into investment analysis, particularly those held by public funds. Notable issues in the last two years include governance issues relating to executive pay or the quality and accountability of boards of directors as well as environmental issues, particularly relating to climate change and carbon emissions. As with Europe, negative/exclusionary screening is by far the single biggest sustainable investing strategy practiced in the US. Concerns related to the volatile and repressive Sudan regime continue to drive institutional investors and money managers to pursue targeted divestment from the country. Indeed, Sudan-related investment policies are the most prevalent ESG criteria incorporated into investment management, affecting more than US$ 1.63 trillion in institutional assets and over US$ 999 billion across all investment vehicles included in the money manager phase of research. Product-specific exclusionary criteria in the US include such things as restrictions on investment in tobacco and alcohol. The second most prominent strategy in the US that the US SIF Foundation has traditionally measured is the filing of shareholder resolutions. A wide array of institutional investors— including public pension funds, religious investors, labor funds, foundations and endowments—and money managers file or co-file shareholder resolutions at US companies on ESG issues, and hundreds of these proposals come to votes each year. From 2010 to 2012, 176 institutional investors with US$ 1.28 trillion in assets and 32 investment management firms with total assets under management of US$ 251.3 billion filed or co-filed proposals. This level of involvement, both in terms of the numbers of institutions and managers involved and their overall assets under management, has been consistent since 2010, when US SIF Foundation similarly identified slightly more than 200 institutions and managers with combined assets of US$ 1.5 trillion that filed resolutions from 2008 through mid-2010. In addition, the 2012 US survey found 82 money managers with US$ 4.9 trillion in assets under management who reported that they pursue dialogue with portfolio companies, another form of shareholder engagement that US SIF Foundation has not traditionally measured. This is up substantially from the 54 managers with US$ 3.8 trillion in assets that answered this way at year-end 2009. Global Sustainable Investment Review 2012 22


Global Sustainable Investement Alliance
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