Since the 2008 market meltdown, banks and financial services firms have re-set their practices and missions for better performance. That includes integrating environmental, social, and governance issues into their overall business strategy. Ceres, the organization that advocates for sustainability leadership, has signed up several leading banks and financial services firms to its company network, including Bank of America, Citi, State Street, Legg Mason, JP Morgan Chase, Prudential Financial and Wells Fargo. Banks that join commit to improving their sustainability performance and disclosure by engaging with investors, environmental and civil society groups.
The latest to sign up is Morgan Stanley. The firm uses its capital markets expertise and global reach to support sustainable business models that strengthen communities, provide economic opportunities, and preserve environmental resources. In 2013, Morgan Stanley created the Institute for Sustainable Investing to mobilize capital to address sustainability challenges at scale. The Institute focuses on developing sustainable investing products and solutions, thought leadership, and cross-sector partnerships. As part of the Institute’s launch, Morgan Stanley has set a five-year goal of $10 billion in total client assets in investments to deliver market-rate returns and positive environmental and social impact. If money talks, then the investments by Morgan Stanley and the other financial institutions in the Ceres company network speak to the profits to be made from ESG-influenced strategies.
I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.