ESG’s Next Big Thing

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Aug 6, 2021 11:51:22 AM

As more assets flow into ESG strategies, the space has had an impact on several facets of society, with a new mega-trend every year. In a recent call with clients, Portfolio Manager Duane Roberts reflected on where ESG trends have already taken us, and where they are going:

Duane Roberts: “I'll go back three years, and it seems like every year there's a new theme in ESG. Three years ago, it was transitioning away from fossil fuels and what's the pathway to get there, and how does our portfolio align with those projections, and are the companies in the portfolio making the changes necessary. Last year for some fairly obvious reasons, diversity equity, and inclusion, which was always a subject of concern for ESG, jumped from being one of the topics to being the top topic.

“In 2021 … I think the trend is going to be the importance of the voice of shareholders setting the direction of companies.

In terms of proxy voting, I’ve been doing for a long time, and the playing field in proxy votes has always been slanted in favor of management. That is now really shifting. We’ve already seen more shareholder resolutions pass than I think we've seen in any year prior, and we still have quite a bit to go … I know on the energy side in terms of climate change we've already had more successful shareholder resolutions this year than in any prior year.

“I think things have changed in that investors are asking their asset managers to pay attention to these factors, to pay attention to proxy voting in a different way, to think about the long-term impacts of corporate behaviors and corporate strategies, and it's really starting to show up in these annual general meetings in shareholder resolutions and the success of those.”

To hear more about our history in ESG investing, and what makes our strategies different from a growing field of funds in the space, we invite you to listen to the full call.


ESG Due Diligence: Matching a Strategy with Your Client's Objectives

The Dana Funds are distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC. There is no affiliation between Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC. and the firms referenced in this blog post.