Manulife Private Wealth’s ESG Charter – Our journey
In our industry we talk a lot about “doing what’s in the best interest of our clients”, if we don’t, there are financial consequences either through loss of revenue to our business or fines from the regulator, or both.
Consequently, we take our roles as stewards of our client monies quite seriously. Extending the concept of stewardship, sustainability and resilience to the day-to-day management of our businesses seems to be the next logical step. So why not incorporate these same concepts into our approach to investing?
Years ago, when the industry began to hear about Socially Responsible Investing, it was generally associated with negative screening, that is, excluding companies from an Investment Manager’s universe of potential investments due to the core business of the company. By integrating ESG considerations into the investment process and philosophy, negative screening takes a back seat to stewardship, sustainability and resilience and the conversation begins to change. There are many examples of how various industries are effecting important change based on dialogue between the Board of Directors, the C-suite, investment managers and shareholders to identify milestones and make meaningful progress on reasonable and achievable ESG goals without depriving the companies of investment capital.
More importantly, ESG analysis and integration is happening across the entire investment universe. It extends beyond selecting shares in a company to fixed income issues and private markets. As I continued my research into this evolving school of thought, it became apparent to me that Manulife Private Wealth should start its own ESG journey by developing a charter which states our ambition and outlines our modest objectives while also leaving room for continued progress and evolution.
Increasingly more sophisticated, wealthy investors and their children are asking questions about MPW’s approach to incorporating ESG into our investment process. By sharing the MPW ESG charter with them, we hope to engage in meaningful dialogue. After all, as humans sharing this planet, ESG factors impact us all.
I hope you find this charter interesting as we begin documenting and integrating ESG within Manulife Private Wealth.
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