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Laura Nishikawa

Laura Nishikawa
Managing Director, ESG Research

About the Contributor

Laura Nishikawa leads a global research team responsible for producing ESG-related research content and developing models to help institutional investors identify, measure and manage investment risks and opportunities arising from significantESG issues. Laura joined MSCI in 2010 through the acquisition of RiskMetrics. Laura received her Masters degree in International Economic Policy from Columbia University (SIPA), and her Bachelors degree from McGill University, and is a CFA® charterholder.

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Contributions by Laura Nishikawa

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  1. BLOG

    Corporate disclosure in a TCFD world 

    Sep 24, 2018 Laura Nishikawa

    ESG Research , Global Investing

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    In June of 2017, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) released climate-related disclosure recommendations to companies and investors that included a framework for better company disclosure and a request for climate scenarios as part of that disclosure. But for investors looking to incorporate environmental risk into their process, there might be a pretty big catch: We mapped over 140 MSCI ESG Research climate-related data points to the TCFD framework and found a significant gap between what investors need to know under these recommendations and what companies are telling them.

  2. PAPER

    Foundations of ESG Investing – Part 4: Integrating ESG into Factor Strategies and Active Portfolios 

    Jun 7, 2018 Laura Nishikawa , Guido Giese , Dimitris Melas , Zoltán Nagy , Linda-Eling Lee

    Investing (Investment Management) , Portfolio Construction and Optimization , Responsible Investing

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    How can ESG characteristics be integrated consistently across factor-based and active equity allocations? In Part 4 of the Foundations of ESG Investing paper, we discuss two approaches to applying ESG ratings to factor-based allocations – a one-step and a two-step approach – asking which has done a better job at combining the underlying strategy with ESG while maintaining exposure to target factors. We then investigate overlaying ESG ratings and ESG momentum on the historical holdings of nearly 1,200 actively managed global equity funds. What would have been the impact on their risk and return?

  3. According to recent surveys, asset owners’ have shifted their main focus to ESG’s financial benefits, as opposed to social benefits. In the third part of this paper, we discuss how ESG can be integrated into indexed allocations using MSCI ESG Ratings, which provided better risk-adjusted returns from August 2010 to December 2017 than the MSCI ACWI Index. We used existing best-in-class selection-based index methodologies (the MSCI ESG Leaders Index) for the creation of hypothetical global and regional indexed allocations replicating these indexes. We observed significant regional variations in ESG profiles and performance during our study period, but all showed a clear reduction in key risk measures. Part 3: ©2019 Pageant Media. Republished with permission of IPR Journal, from “Performance and Risks Analysis of Index-based ESG Portfolios.” Guido Giese, Linda-Eling Lee, Dimitris Melas, Zoltan Nagy, and Laura Nishikawa. Vol. 9, No. 4, 2019.

  4. Many studies have focused on the relationship between companies with strong ESG characteristics and corporate financial performance.  However, these have often struggled to show that positive correlations — when produced — can in fact explain the behavior. This paper provides a  link between ESG information and the valuation and performance of companies, both through their systematic risk profile (lower costs of capital and higher valuations) and their idiosyncratic risk profile (higher profitability and lower exposures to tail risk). The research suggests that changes in a company’s ESG characteristics may be a useful financial indicator. ESG ratings may also be suitable for integration into policy benchmarks and financial analyses. Part 1: ©2019 Pageant Media. Republished with permission of IPR Journal, from “Foundations of ESG Investing: How ESG Affects Equity Valuation, Risk, and Performance.” Guido Giese, Linda-Eling Lee, Dimitris Melas, Zoltan Nagy, and Laura Nishikawa. Vol. 45, No. 5, 2019.

  5. BLOG

    Pursuing ESG Standards and Diversification 

    Jul 27, 2017 Laura Nishikawa

    ESG Research

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    Many of the world’s largest institutional investors are integrating ESG standards into their investment strategies. But they face a challenge: Excluding every objectionable firm or selecting only ESG (environmental, social and governance) leaders can slash the number of acceptable stocks by half while foreclosing on opportunities for dialogue and engagement. How can institutions implement ESG principles without sacrificing diversification or abandoning efforts to improve corporate conduct?

  6. PAPER

    KEEP IT BROAD: AN APPROACH TO ESG STRATEGIC TILTING 

    Feb 8, 2017 Laura Nishikawa , Stuart Doole , Kumar Neeraj , Véronique Menou

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    HOW CAN UNIVERSAL OWNERS INTEGRATE ESG PRINCIPLES WHILE MAINTAINING A BROAD AND DIVERSIFIED INVESTMENT UNIVERSE?

    Institutional investors are increasingly looking for ways to integrate ESG considerations into their investment decisions. By doing so, they may aim to mitigate long-term risks, generate higher risk-adjusted performance and/or align investments with broader societal objectives. As ESG investment guidelines become more commonplace among asset owners, and as many continue to build capabilities in engagement and risk management, we have seen a small but growing set of institutional investors focus on long-termism by adopting investment strategies that explicitly build in their holistic views of the future.

  7. BLOG

    How to integrate ESG without sacrificing diversification 

    Feb 8, 2017 Laura Nishikawa

    ESG Research , Global Investing

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    As institutional equity investors increasingly think about the long term, they may adjust their portfolios to accommodate environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns in their investment decision-making processes. That can be particularly challenging for the largest investors, such as pension funds and endowments, whose portfolios span the entire equity market.

  8. BLOG

    Incorporating sustainable impact in your investment process 

    Apr 12, 2016 Laura Nishikawa

    ESG Research

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    Institutional investors increasingly are looking for ways to steer capital toward companies that help to address major social and environmental challenges.

  9. PAPER

    Toward Sustainable Impact Through Public Markets 

    Apr 12, 2016 Laura Nishikawa , Véronique Menou

    Responsible Investing

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    Institutional investors are increasingly looking for ways to steer capital toward companies and projects that provide solutions to major social and environmental challenges, but achieving impact at scale can be a challenging proposition. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a useful foundation for scalable impact, representing a broad consensus of global stakeholders around 17 ambitious development goals. The new Sustainable Impact framework and accompanying data and index are designed to allow investors to measure their current exposure to exchange-listed companies that provide sustainable impact solutions and to define actionable thematic allocations in line with the SDGs.

  10. PAPER

    Fund Transparency: Exploring the ESG Quality of Fund Holdings - March 2016 

    Mar 8, 2016 Ken Frankel , Matt Moscardi , Laura Nishikawa

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    To solve for the next generation of investors’ demands for greater transparency around the ESG characteristics of their investments, MSCI ESG Research is introducing the concept of ESG Quality with the calculation of a Fund ESG Quality Score across over 21,000 mutual funds and ETFs. Funds with higher scores are comprised of companies managing their ESG risks relative to industry peers.

  11. PAPER

    Fund Transparency: Exploring the ESG Quality of Fund Holdings - Excerpt 

    Mar 8, 2016 Laura Nishikawa , Ken Frankel , Matt Moscardi

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    To solve for the next generation of investors’ demands for greater transparency around the ESG characteristics of their investments, MSCI ESG Research is introducing the concept of ESG Quality with the calculation of a Fund ESG Quality Score across over 21,000 mutual funds and ETFs. Funds with higher scores are comprised of companies managing their ESG risks relative to industry peers.

  12. PAPER

    2016 ESG TRENDS TO WATCH 

    Jan 11, 2016 Laura Nishikawa , Ric Marshall , Matt Moscardi

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    In our annual trends report, we highlight the key environmental, social and governance (ESG) trends that are top of mind for investors going into the New Year. In 2016, these trends reflect a softening economy, a long-term shift to a low carbon economy, a generational changeover and institutional forces.

     

    Download the Research Spotlight "2016 ESG Trends to Watch."

    To read data from other years, please see our ESG Trends page.

  13. PAPER

    Issue Brief - Implications of COP21: How do corporate carbon reduction targets stack up? 

    Dec 15, 2015 Manish Shakdwipee , Laura Nishikawa

    Responsible Investing

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    The climate deal struck in Paris set an ambitious goal of limiting the temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, with a stretch goal of 1.5 degrees. While the key elements of legally binding country emission reduction targets appeared to be missing, countries agreed to submit five-year updates to their emissions reduction pledges and to establish a framework for monitoring, measuring and verifying emissions reductions.

  14. PAPER

    Carbon Footprinting 101 - A Practical Guide to Understanding and Applying Carbon Metrics 

    Sep 25, 2015 Ken Frankel , Laura Nishikawa

    Responsible Investing

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    Assessing the carbon footprint of a portfolio is the first step in addressing the investment implications of climate change. Carbon footprinting sets a baseline to inform future actions, which can range from reporting and engagement to decarbonization and integrated risk management.

  15. BLOG

    ESG TRENDS TO WATCH FOR 2015 

    Mar 23, 2015 Laura Nishikawa

    ESG Research

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    We head into the new year with the backdrop of swooning oil prices and (re)newed geopolitical fault‐lines, juxtaposed against a return to growth in the US and emergence of the next generation of tech darlings.