Knowledge for better food systems

Sustainable Investment and Finance Going Mainstream

This article in Environment Magazine (MIT press) discusses so called “ESG” investments - environmental, social, and governance  investment criteria. The article charts the history of socially and environmentally responsible investments and argues that screening of assets with environmental, social, or governance parameters in mind is growing.

According to the 2014 report of the Global Sustainable Investing Review, in Europe, assets committed to ESG grew by 30% in USD (15.4 billion to $22 billion) ; in the United States, total US SRI assets grew by 76% in USD ($3.74 trillion to $6.57 trillion); in Canada, assets using responsible investing strategies grew by 60% in USD ($598 billion to $945 billion); in Australia and New Zealand, assets committed to ESG grew by 30% in USD ($6.6 billion to $22 billion); and in Asia, the overall market for sustainable investment grew by 32.5% ($40 billion to $53 billion).

The article also says “Another key indicator worldwide is the steady growth in the number of signatories to CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, on whose behalf CDP administers an annual disclosure request process with most public companies in the world.

Annually, CDP gathers and synthesizes quantitative and qualitative information on environmental performance and ranks companies, and signatories have grown from 35 early adopters at CDP’s inception in 2001 to 822 today. Most of the world’s leading financial service sector enterprises are CDP signatories, and collectively they managing either directly or indirectly about $80 trillion in assets.”


DiPerna P (2015) Wall Street Wakes Up: Sustainable Investment and Finance Going Mainstream, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 57:6, 42-51, DOI: 10.1080/00139157.2015.1089146

Read the article here.

See other related resources in our research library categories on Investment, environmental accounting/costing, political economy, industry actions/CSR, certification, Carbon Disclosure Project CDP,  and governance and policy.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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