“Build Back Better”: COVID-19 Brings the “S” from ESG Into Focus (Franklin Templeton)

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by Julie Moret, Head of ESG, Franklin Templeton Investments

Dislocations resulting from the pandemic shine a light on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, which can be used as an additional tool to identify leading companies from the laggards, according to Franklin Templeton’s Global Head of ESG, Julie Moret. She explains why she believes the pandemic has propelled “S” issues to the forefront, and how this environment could cultivate a fertile backdrop for active management.

- Promotion -

We’re still in the early stages of understanding the longer-term impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the real economy. That said, the immediate impact on people’s lives and the dislocation of markets is evident.

While the crisis has no doubt emphasized how critical balance sheet resilience is now for companies and their longer-term viability, it has also accelerated a number of environmental, social and governance (ESG) themes which existed before the crisis. Many investors and executives argue that now is the time to “build back better” and create a more sustainable corporate world.

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In the midst of a global pandemic, Apple announced one of the corporate world’s most ambitious environmental blueprints – to reduce the climate impact of every Apple device to net zero by 2030. The plan involves cutting 75 per cent of the company’s existing carbon footprint, not only for its own business but also across the manufacturing supply chain and product life cycle.

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