The tremendous toll of the COVID-19 crisis – on health, economic well-being, and everyday activity – has precipitated a widespread reassessment of the way we live our lives. For governments, businesses, and investors, an essential question has been to understand the sources of resilience during these past few months and how to build on them to prepare for future crises.
Global equity markets signalled the severity of the crisis before much of the world had begun its lockdowns. Equities began their steep descent in late February, and in the course of one month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 10,000 points (34%)1, demand for cash soared, and economic activity ground to a halt as businesses were forcibly shut down and people directed to stay inside. Amidst this volatile environment, investors have been seeking to understand what characteristics contributed to comparative resilience in portfolios’ performance and how to incorporate these characteristics in their own investments.
The concept of sustainable investing can mean different things. Asset owners and asset managers often operate with multiple definitions, messages and motivations. BlackRock operates from a simple definition of sustainable investing: Combining traditional investing with environmental, social, and governance-related (ESG) insights to improve long-term outcomes for our clients. Our view: Companies with strong profiles on material sustainability issues have potential to outperform those with poor profiles. In particular, we believe companies managed with a focus on sustainability should be better positioned versus their less sustainable peers to weather adverse conditions while still benefitting from positive market environments.
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