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2013 ESG Trends to Watch

If there is one thing that Hurricane Sandy in the US taught us, it is that preparation counts.

What seemed unlikely even just a day before the storm upended business-as-usual and reinforced the primacy of risk management. Identifying vulnerabilities, however, requires challenging core assumptions about what past data and experience can tell us in the face of the unexpected. As MSCI ESG Research looks forward to 2013, we see clouds on the horizon in the context of accelerating climate change and populist disenchantment in key emerging markets with the way business gets done. Yet, those companies who look beyond the constrained horizons of stagnating home markets to refocus their strategies on new growth drivers have the chance to seize a significant first mover advantage. As growing risk awareness propels investors to seek long-term bets that will sustain them through the next storms and upheavals, these far-sighted companies will gain momentum over the complacent.

In this context, we are focusing on five ESG trends for 2013, which are likely to affect government and corporate policy, profits, and (financial) market sentiments:

  • Waiting for the Storm: how to assess fixed assets in climate-vulnerable areas?
  • Bottom of the Pyramid and Top of the Pack: how will sluggish economic growth and regulatory and fiscal constraints push companies in healthcare, consumer, and other sectors?
  • What Health & Safety Metrics (Don’t) Tell Us: why is relying on health and safety metrics alone not enough to identify the next BP?
  • Protesting Corruption: how has public outrage over corruption press governments in China, India, and Russia to pursue an anti-corruption agenda that could impact key sectors?
  • Meaningful Data and the Movement of Markets: why are companies - that have improved their reporting on ESG issues - still ignoring issues that pose significant risks to their core businesses?

Listen to this recorded interactive webinar discussion where Linda-Eling Lee, Global Head of ESG Ratings Research, MSCI ESG Research and her team of senior ESG research experts has provided further insights and directly answered participants' questions on key ESG opportunities and issues.

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