Wall Street Banks Face Mounting Shareholder Pressure to Address Gender Pay Gap

Gender diversity and equality are increasingly coming under the spotlight on Wall Street (see also The Fearless Girl Beckons). The 2017 proxy season was no different. Activist investors, such as Arjuna Capital and Pax World Management, actively targeted Wall Street banks, encouraging them to tackle the gender pay gap.

Are Subprime Auto Loans the Next Bubble?

Through the course of our research, we’ve seen a significant increase in media coverage surrounding the U.S. auto loan market. Headlines highlight an increase in delinquency and default rates, a prevalence of deep subprime auto loans, lower vehicle deliveries and higher inventories. Reminiscent of the financial crisis, many investors are asking whether this is the next bubble and what they can do to manage related ESG risks.

WannaCry: A Cybersecurity Wake Up Call

The recent Wanna, also called WannaCry, ransomware attack once again highlighted the importance of cybersecurity and protecting online data and systems. In our 10 for 2017 report, we argue that such attacks are likely to increase in frequency and intensity making it prudent for investors to integrate cybersecurity risk management into their investment decision making processes. Understanding these risks is crucial since most companies provide poor visibility into their ability to proactively manage such threats.

Fair Living Wages in the Garment Sector: The Case of Bangladesh

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the deadliest accident in the garment industry. On 24 April 2013, the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh resulted in the death of 1,200 workers and left several thousand injured. The tragedy was linked primarily to poor health and safety practices, but it also highlighted the intense wage pressure in Bangladesh’s garment industry. This issue is becoming more pressing with disputes over minimum wages having resulted in massive social unrest in December 2016 and January 2017.

Potential ESG Risks in the US Health Care Industry

The US health care industry is facing some uncertainty under the current administration. Recent news coverage focused primarily on the failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but question marks related to deregulation and pricing remain. Investors will need to monitor developments closely to ensure they proactively manage emerging ESG risks.

Tobacco Mergers: Can You Buy the Brand but Leave the Health Liability?

Due to the success of anti-smoking campaigns and regulation, tobacco companies are increasingly struggling with a dwindling customer base. This has led to a wave of consolidation in an effort to maximize profits through industries of scale. As these behemoths gobble each other up and cigarette brands change hands, it leads investors to question what happens to the societal liabilities attached to them.

The Fearless Girl Beckons: Tracking Gender Diversity

The Fearless Girl stands in front of the Charging Bull, her hands on her waist, her stare strong and defiant. She challenges Wall Street’s bull, which has long symbolized strength and prosperity in a male-dominated corporate culture. She also is a poignant representation of the growing demand for greater gender diversity.

#DeleteUber: The Changing Face of Consumer Boycotts?

In late January 2017, 200,000 Uber users deleted their accounts in just one week. Meanwhile, the company’s closest competitor, Lyft, surpassed Uber in the number of daily iOS downloads for the first time. This consumer action formed part of the #DeleteUber campaign on social media. Given the campaign’s impact, it is important to ask how it differs from more traditional consumer boycotts and what investors can learn from it.

Finding Value Through Thematic ESG Investing

On January 25th Sustainalytics published 10 for 2017: Investment themes in a changing world, the fourth installment in our 10 for series. As the title suggests, the report looks at thematic ESG investing.

Why Responsible Investing is in our DNA

– Celebrating Sustainalytics’ 25th anniversary. This year Sustainalytics turns 25. It is an important event to celebrate, but, for me, the true value of such milestones lie in the fact that they give you pause to reflect. While Sustainalytics is a success story, it doesn’t mean we didn’t have some peaks and valleys. At any rate, I ask myself how we were able to create a company that has built responsible investing into its very DNA.