The goal of ESG impact alongside financial returns is becoming the new default for investors. Today, the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investing represents more assets than it ever has. The flurry of social-bond issuing this year, far above 2019 levels, to underpin the covid-19 economic recovery, is also testament to this upward trend. The implications should be heralded across the board. Sustainable finance will underpin the world’s ability to meet the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. It is also key to international development, as emerging markets race against time to transition to low-carbon and climate resilient economies. For now though, sustainable investments tend to be skewed to the West. The irony is that if impact is the bottom line, then emerging markets – where the impact of every dollar is disproportionately greater – should be top of mind. There is a growing imperative to transfer a portion of the estimated 50 trillion dollars under asset management into sustainable projects in emerging markets, if we are to make an impact on decarbonising.
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