So. Africa: Investment management firm claims wealthy investors prefer companies with good environmental & social records

Author: Londiwe Buthelezi, Business Day (So. Africa), Published on: 16 October 2018

"SA’s rich investors pursue responsible investing"

SA’s wealthy investors are putting more of their money in companies with the best track records in environmental, social and corporate governance due to heightened awareness and debate about these issues in the country. “SA investors had one of the highest engagements on these topics,” said Jessica Ground, global head of stewardship at Schroders, the global investment manager that tracks behaviour and ambitions of the world’s wealthy investors.  The company tracks the behaviour of  those investing at least €10,000 a year (about R168,000) across 30 countries.

Ground said while SA investors were very engaged in global sustainability in general, the firm was surprised at their particular attention on matters around climate change. While the Western Cape droughts and flash floods that swept through Johannesburg and Durban in 2017 were likely to have contributed to this heightened awareness, Ground said SA investors’ engagement on the issue was even higher than that of most European countries. “SA was more aligned with the US and Asia, which can possibly be explained by day-to-day exposure to  these challenges.”

Apart from investors, Ground said Schroders had also observed a shift among big companies when it comes to the way they view environmental and social issues. She said diversified mining company Anglo American was one of the companies they engaged with while gathering insights on the importance of sustainability in SA. “I think people are taking a holistic view on sustainability issues, realising they encompass not only governance issues but also interactions with the environment and society as well,” she said.

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Related companies: Anglo American