Building a robust sustainable investment strategy

We can help you build or optimise a sustainable investment strategy that aims to help you navigate tomorrow's challenges and regulatory changes. We look at progress against peers, identify potential changes to asset allocation and assess your portfolio's capacity to transition. We can incorporate ESG, DEI, climate and impact considerations. Our research, tools, advice and solutions are designed to help you manage your risk profile while seeking favourable returns along the way.

Why a sustainable investment strategy is critical

Governments are establishing sustainable investing policies and regulations. Investors are adopting “sustainable development goals”. Donors and beneficiaries are demanding that investors take real action to stop polluting, grow the economy sustainably and protect the vulnerable. Having a sustainable investment strategy is no longer a “nice-to-have”, it’s an imperative for all investors, of all sizes around the world. 

Investing sustainably – for the future – goes beyond just incorporating environmental, social and governance considerations. It also involves paying attention to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within managers and strategies, and striking a balance between doing the right thing and delivering on investment commitments, which is otherwise known as impact-investing.

Questions to ask when defining your approach: 

  • Where am I on my sustainability journey?
  • Where are asset managers on their journey?
  • What practical changes can I make today?
  • How can I ensure that DEI is a priority for managers and in strategies?
  • How do I strike an optimal balance between the greater good and meeting my financial objectives?

Considerations when building your sustainable investment strategy

There are many ways to approach ESG within a portfolio. The following are the main strategies, which can be implemented individually or in combination. We believe success requires a mixture of these elements:

ESG strategies

  • Integration: Include ESG factors in investment decisions.
  • Investment: Allocate budgets to sustainability themes or impact investments for new opportunities.
  • Stewardship: Take part in voting and engage with underlying companies and policy makers.
  • Screening: Eliminate sectors and companies deemed irresponsible and not aligned with your values.

Climate change is a pressing issue for the planet and for the investment community. Institutional investors, such as pension funds, financial institutions, insurers, wealth managers, endowments and foundations, hold trillions of dollars in assets in their portfolios. In a decarbonising economy, these assets are highly exposed to climate transition risks.

Climate change scenario modelling

Our global partnership with Ortec Finance has enabled us to provide all types of institutional investors with a rigorous analysis of the climate crisis. Our scenario modelling uncovers emerging opportunities, helping investors decide how they want to influence the climate crisis and how to make their portfolios resilient against future challenges. 

Our quantitative analysis, in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), is grounded in economics and science. This analysis provides a deep level of granularity, allowing clients to consider whether climate impacts are fully priced into every asset class and economic sector before reallocation decisions are made. The long-term projections it provides are integrated into Mercer’s capital markets assumptions across all our services.

As part of a wider strategy to invest sustainably, integrating a DEI lens into your decision-making process allows you to align your portfolios with your organisational mission and values. It also positions you to achieve long-term sustainable returns and will help drive change that could ultimately benefit us all.

Three steps to integrate DEI into your investment portfolio

  1. Define what diversity means to you
  2. Build a process and a strategy
  3. Implement your plan

No matter where you are on your DEI investment journey, we can help you define what diversity means for your organisation and integrate it within your portfolio and investment decision-making process.

There are a number of approaches to sustainable investment, including ESG integration and screening, thematic investing and impact investing. More investors are looking to impact investing to help them strike a balance between doing the right thing for the planet, while pursing financial returns. There are a number of considerations for impact investing.

Considerations for impact investing

  1. Defining your ambition and project themes
  2. Identifying opportunities to strike a balance
  3. Sourcing and accessing managers
  4. Reporting on progress and impact

Our team of experienced specialists can help you review your objectives against your investment goals, defining an optimal strategy that balances your sustainable investment ambitions with returns.

Tools to help you amplify your sustainable investment strategy

It is important to gain insight into how well you are currently integrating ESG considerations into your overall investment decision making. 
Our RITE approach will evaluate your portfolio across each area of Mercer’s Sustainable Investing Pathway (Beliefs, Policy, Process and Portfolio) to score your portfolio on a scale from A++ to C and compare it to your peers. This tool can also monitor your improvement over time.

Climate Benchmark tool

Our Climate Benchmark tool assesses current practices to uncover activity gaps and any need for improvement in the field of advanced climate investing. The tool evaluates 10 categories of activity and assesses your current level of progress on a scale from 1 to 5; 1 indicates “not started” and 5 indicates “fully developed”.
This spider chart is an example of the output of the climate benchmark tool, which compares an investors current climate practices compared to that of their peers. The graph shows the investors progress on 10 categories, rating it from a 1 to 5.

Once you have a clear picture of where you are on your journey, you will need to review your goals against your organisational beliefs, policies, processes and overall portfolio approach. This will help you move forward and fill any gaps specific to your organisation.

Transition framework for emissions reduction

Our transition framework will help you establish your current emission baselines while assessing how to make reductions, set target milestones, and develop an implementation plan that can be integrated within your strategy and portfolio.
This diagram shows the process and timeframe that an investor could adopt to help transition portfolios to zero emissions by 2050.

Sustainable Investment Pathway

This diagram is a picture of the four stages of the sustainable investment pathway - beliefs, policy, process and portfolio.
This diagram illustrates the sustainable investment pathway, from zero to thirty-six months.

After identifying areas for change, we can help you understand the implications that upcoming transitions will have on your portfolio. How will your asset allocation need to change over time? What will be the impacts on your asset classes and managers? We can help you answer these questions, drawing on our deep knowledge across asset classes, managers and strategies.

When reviewing your portfolio and action plan, we will help you understand the capacity of your managers and organisations to transition to a sustainable strategy. Our Analytics for Climate Transition tool calculates your current emissions baseline, identifies areas for possible reduction and recommends a transition plan by asset class.

Our commitment to help make a difference

Sustainable investment solutions for institutional investors

We can work with you to build and execute your sustainable investment strategy, helping you meet your overall sustainability objectives. As a trusted adviser and Implemented Investment Consulting provider we have access to a universe of managers, asset classes and opportunities. We can evaluate your portfolio through multiple lenses, ensuring every investment decision you make considers the most pressing global themes like climate change.
  • Responsible Investment Total Evaluation (RITE)

    This tool provides an evaluation across your beliefs, policies, processes and portfolio. It shows you how you’re doing on a scale from A++ to C and compares you to your peers. It can also monitor your improvement over time.
  • Sustainable investment pathway

    This advice and implementation framework provides you with the foundation for strong governance and portfolio implementation, helping you take action on your sustainable investment journey.
  • Analytics for Climate Transition (ACT)

    This framework assesses a vast range of data to rank the transition capacity of listed companies to help you position your portfolios for a carbon-free future.
  • Investing for impact

    We can help you build a robust impact investing strategy designed to accelerate real-change and whilst helping you pursue stronger returns for your portfolios.
  • Integrating DEI

    We can help you define and build a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) investment strategy that seeks to deliver positive change and stronger portfolio outcomes.
  • Investment research

    Access the latest strategic investment research on MercerInsight Community and our forward-looking asset manager research on MercerInsight to help guide your investment decisions.

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    Wherever you are on your sustainable investment journey, we can help.

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