Progress on corporate disclosures. A looming talent shortage. Climate change mitigation. These are among the top trends that sustainability experts predict will shape the ESG landscape in 2019. In the inaugural episode of ESG Insider, a new podcast from S&P Global, co-hosts Esther Whieldon and Lindsey White speak to several ESG leaders about the key themes they are watching this year, including Rakhi Kumar, State Street Global Advisors’ head of ESG investments and asset stewardship, Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of Ceres, and Libby Bernick, Trucost managing director and global head of corporate business.
"ESG investing is no longer a sideshow," State Street Global Advisors Inc.'s Rakhi Kumar said in the inaugural episode of ESG Insider, which will focus on environmental, social and governance issues.
Kumar, SSGA's head of ESG investments and asset stewardship, also highlighted the importance of leadership teams setting goals around issues like diversity to achieve progress toward building more sustainable businesses in the long term.
Some other takeaways:
➤ Why companies are starting to pay more attention to the physical risks of climate change
Amid an increase in extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and heat waves, companies are beginning to take a closer look at how climate change could threaten their operations and even their bottom line, said Libby Bernick, Trucost managing director and global head of corporate business.
"It's not just 'what's my company's impact on climate,' it's 'what's climate's impact on my company,'" Bernick said.
Trucost is a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence that assesses business risks related to climate change and other ESG factors.
➤ Companies are responding to investor pressure to tackle sustainability issues
Investor pressure has already prompted a number of companies to step up their environmental efforts, particularly those tied to climate change and water shortages, according to Ceres President and CEO Mindy Lubber. Ceres is an organization that helps coordinate sustainability discussions between major companies and shareholders.
Lubber expects the momentum will continue in 2019 with companies beginning to tackle climate-related issues in a "more concentrated, focused, systemic way."
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This article was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.