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Cole Martin

Cole Martin

Senior Associate, MSCI Research

Cole Martin is the lead ESG research analyst for the food products, beverages and food retail staples industries. Previously, he spent over 10 years as a researcher and forecaster covering food, agribusiness and agricultural commodity prices at Fitch Group and BMI Research. Cole has a master’s degree in international public policy from UCL and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Western Ontario. He is also a CFA® charterholder.

Research and Insights

Articles by Cole Martin

    Spirits of Change: Alcohol in a Dry World

    Podcast | May 10, 2024 | Michael Disabato, Cole Martin

    Alcoholic beverage companies are trying to navigate through a changing world, one where tastes are evolving, and resources are getting scarcer. In this episode, delve into the significant challenges and innovative strategies the alcoholic beverage industry is employing to combat this shift in drinking trends.

    Children are still in the Cocoa Field

    Podcast | Apr 2, 2024 | Michael Disabato, Cole Martin

    This week we provide an update to our March 2022 episode titled Children in the Cocoa field that explored the growing problem of child labor in cocoa harvesting. And the attempt by Nestlé to use money and enhanced mapping technology to combat its prevalence. It sounds bleak, but it was a great story about how technology is allowing for better transparency in our world's supply chain.

    Companies Reliant on Agricultural Products May Face Lower Policy Risk

    2 mins read Quick Take | Dec 8, 2023 | Cole Martin, Ahasan Amin

    Food, beverage and food-retail companies have often been exempted from emissions-reduction schemes, but that may change soon. And if it does, investors might need to assess a new set of risks for these companies, such as carbon tax. 

    (Bottled) Water, Water Everywhere

    Podcast | Nov 10, 2023 | Cole Martin

    We’re thirsty, y’all! In a year, we drink 350 billion liters of bottled water, most of it from plastic. But it’s a product with a hefty environmental footprint, and big climate risks.  We take a look at what might lie ahead for companies and investors.

    The Potential Impact of El Niño on Sovereign Debt

    6 mins read Blog | Sep 18, 2023 | Alexander Schober, Cole Martin

    With a very strong likelihood of an El Niño event forming by the end of 2023, we take a look at the impact such events have had in the past on the debt-to-GDP ratios of global sovereigns and what this could mean for impact investors.  

    The Fight Between Food and Forests

    Podcast | Aug 4, 2023 | Cole Martin

    Commodities like palm oil, beef and cocoa are intertwined with deforestation. The EU wants to change this. We talk about the bloc’s latest law and how it’s going to ask food companies to take supply chain due diligence and traceability to a whole new level.

    The Shrinking Colorado River

    Podcast | Apr 14, 2023 | Siping Guo, Mathew Lee, Cole Martin

    The Colorado river is shrinking and the tens of millions of Americans that rely on the water source are having to deal with the possibility of imposed water cuts. The urban sprawls that have peppered the desert are also in competition with the industries that operate in the area and use the water from the Colorado river: agriculture, semiconductors, and energy. In this week’s episode we discuss what happens when companies no longer have access to the water they need to operate.

    CRISPR Comes to ESG

    Podcast | Jan 6, 2023 | Cole Martin, Yoon Young Chung

    This week we discuss new advances in gene editing techniques and Meta’s USD 400 million fine.

    High Water Stress Exposure May Exacerbate Grain-Price Volatility

    2 mins read Quick Take | Aug 29, 2022 | Cole Martin

    This summer’s prolonged hot, dry weather may be a sign of longer-term water stress and grain-price volatility. Food and grocery companies, with high exposure to this issue and low current return on assets, may be under the greatest pressure. 

    Labor Ignores and La Nina Threatens

    Podcast | Aug 5, 2022 | Umar Ashfaq, Cole Martin

    The S of ESG has become more useful in understanding company performance in down times. When things are bad, companies that take care of their workers, for example, often perform better than their counterparts. We discuss why this might be by looking at growing job vacancies in some parts of the US economy. Then we discuss what could happen to the food system if the rare “triple-dip” La Nina, an atmospheric and oceanic phenomenon, happens this winter.

    Children in the Cocoa Fields

    Podcast | Mar 11, 2022 | Cole Martin

    We begin this episode with an update on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Western companies have begun an exodus from Russia as sanctions and atrocities mount. Yet, some are deciding to stay. The decision behind why is ultimately one that can be explained by examining their board of directors. We do this, with a focus on one of company specifically: Danone. Then, we discuss the growing problem of child labor in cocoa harvesting. And the attempt by Nestlé to use money and enhanced mapping technology to combat its prevalence. It sounds bleak, but it is a great story about how technology is allowing for better transparency in our world's supply chain.

    Labor Strikes and Labor Rights

    Podcast | Jan 28, 2022 | Andrew Young, Cole Martin

    A labor strike ends at Kroger after contract negotiations give the employees a wage increase. But Kroger is supposed to be a decent employer, so what is going on here? Is this all due to the great resignation or renegotiation or restructuring of labor caused by pandemic? Or is there something deeper? We answer all these (floating) questions. Then, we discuss how a new EU proposal to ensure that people working through digital labor platforms can enjoy the labor rights and social benefits they are entitled to is linked to the Kroger strike.

    BHP Eschews Oil for Farming

    Podcast | Aug 20, 2021 | Kevin Kwok, Cole Martin

    The largest mining company in the world, BHP Group, has made three massive moves this week. First, it said it would sell its oil and gas operations to oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum in exchange for shares that it will distribute to its own investors. Second, it approved a 5.7 billion USD investment to build a massive new potash fertilizer mine in Canada called the Jansen potash project. And third, it will collapse it’s dual listing across London and Australia and focus only on its Australia listing. We discuss the first two moves and what they mean for the global fight to reduce carbon.