Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sustainable investment seen as megatrend

Sustainable investing is a megatrend, a societal and economic shift akin to globalization, says Concordia University adjunct professor Amr Addas, speaking today at the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference in Montreal.

“It's a tremendous business opportunity and a strategic imperative for corporate leaders,” Addas said in a morning session aimed at financial advisors.

Managers can no longer afford to ignore sustainability, he said, noting that 67% believe that sustainability is a key to competitive success.

Addas made note of the exponential growth of ESG-focused investment funds and the myth of underperformance. “Pure ESG strategies have outperformed massively,” he said. “It's unequivocal.”

Still, “there are plenty of cynics,” noted Tessa Hebb, director of the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation. “Mainstream beliefs in the financial system run counter to this [sustainability] view.”

On the plus side, there are plenty of good SRI products on the market, said Edmonton-based investment advisor Gail Taylor. “You can give your clients a whole new comfort level.”

“Ultimately, the business case will win out,” said Truscost Senior Vice President Cary Krosinski. “It's about the bottom line.”

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