Company boards have realised that, unless they want to be on the wrong side of history, they have to comply more fully with environmental, sustainable and governance principles.
This is especially true when it comes to shareholder action, investment experts explained during the latest FTAdviser podcast on ESG.
With investors - corporate and individual - demanding to see better standards from the companies and funds they hold, ESG has moved into the mainstream.
So has the Greta Thunberg effect finally trickled through to investment decisions? Speaking to Simoney Kyriakou, editor of Financial Adviser, Stephanie Maier, director of responsible investment at HSBC Global Asset Management, said: "It is now a key environmental imperative.
"Society is more engaged and regulators are also stepping up to recognise that climate risk can present an issue to financial stability."
Also on the podcast was Ryan Lightfoot-Brown, senior research analyst at Chelsea Financial Services, who said: "There has certainly been increased momentum in this space. Any standards not acceptable to ESG investors are highlighted and disseminated on social media, which affects both consumers and company boards and directors - they don't want to be in charge of a company called out in the media."
Moreover, ESG funds themselves are growing in popularity. Research agency Square Mile found that, across the first quarter, four of the top five most viewed funds carried Square Mile’s Responsible ratings, with the Royal London Sustainable World Trust fund being the most viewed fund overall.
And there is now more choice for investors. Last week, HSBC Global Asset Management added three funds to its sustainable multi-asset fund range: Global Sustainable Multi-Asset Cautious portfolio, Global Sustainable Multi-Asset Dynamic portfolio, and Global Sustainable Multi-Asset Adventurous portfolio.
The funds, available to UK investors, will complement the firm’s existing sustainable Multi-Asset Balanced and Conservative portfolios which launched in October 2018.
To listen to the full podcast click on the link above. FTAdviser's podcasts are available on Acast and are available to download on iTunes and Spotify.