Case study

Impact investment Leaders & Laggards

August 2022 Our latest report reveals which are the top-ten positive- and negative- contributing investment funds relative to each of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — and why.

Under review are 6,000+ US-domiciled funds, for which we measure positive and negative performance, respectively. Funds are aggregated as an aggregation of holdings, weighted by allocation; companies, an aggregation of products, weighted by revenue. Relationships between products and SDGs derive from our canon of 120 million peer-reviewed texts.

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Fight, flight, freeze or fawn?

Royal Dutch hell, carbon's tokenisation treatment, woke MBAs, and oil's record cost of capital. Plus, the divest/engage dilemma gets tricky.

A Week in Impact
Good COP/Bad COP

A critical question hangs over COP26: Who's picking up the bill for the energy transition?

A Week in Impact
Aramco + Tesla have an identity problem

National emissions targets diverge; index providers face insurrection; Aramco wants to have its cake and eat it too. Plus, with a new $1trn valuation, is Tesla really a car company anymore?

A Week in Impact
Policy must move fast and fix things

Sustainable disclosure regulations propagate (and diverge); index influence amplifies corporate failings; ESG derivatives come under fire. Plus, what do Facebook and ESG have in common?

A Week in Impact
No wealth without [eco]health

This week: Private markets pivot to ESG; banks push to keep financing fossil fuels; the US becomes a panacea for renewable opportunities. Plus, we dive into the latest casualty of climate change: the portfolio risks of which are critically overlooked

A Week in Impact
How climate friendly is your capital?

To celebrate New York Climate Week, we measured the SDG impact of every US-domiciled fund. Download the full report below.

ESG's double-hedged sword

This week, investors short their way to net zero; funds rebranded as sustainable in name only; subjective ESG demands call for more specific approaches. Plus, how do you fold impact assessment into portfolio construction?

A Week in Impact
The KIIDs are not alright

This week, the DWS greenwashing probe set off dominoes; Cathie Wood's new ARK Investment Management LLC fund underscores a dilemma at the heart of the sustainable transition; climate emerges as the most urgent ESG factor. Plus, which SDGs are the greatest casualties of today's blanket approach to ESG?

A Week in Impact
Is it time for ESG to grow up?

This week, an ex-BlackRock head leads ESG backlash; investors and businesses face impact accounting revolution; money earmarked for good languishes under weak regulation. Plus, is it time to think beyond ESG?

A Week in Impact
Lessons from meme stonk mutualism

IPCC sounds climate 'code red'; direct indexing signals new direction for ESG investors; DWS pivots amid alleged internal challenges. Plus, Robinhood's IPO forces reflections on finance's social role.

A Week in Impact
Lithium: A catch-22 investment

Ratings providers are in the hot seat; the ESG bubble debate intensifies; Util makes IW Sustainable Investment Awards 2021 shortlist. Plus, what lessons can we learn from Rio's lithium investment?

A Week in Impact
What do COVID and ESG have in common?

Systemic change at speed shows the emperor has no clothes

Latest thinking
Closing the qual-quant gap

Asset managers go on ESG buying spree; sustainable investing faces an existential question; ESG now a third of global assets. Plus, how can qualitative and quantitative analysis work together to support sustainability?

A Week in Impact
How sustainable is space travel?

Util partners with BNP's Manaos; ESG asset allocation concerns mount; net zero reaches tipping point (in more ways than one). Plus, space tourism has liftoff, forcing investors to ask difficult questions.

A Week in Impact
We need to talk about ESG outperformance

This week, the SEC set its sights on greenwashing; sustainable bond funds hit new highs; the debate deepened between active and passive. Plus, what will we learn from ESG's asset allocation problem?

A Week in Impact
Give us data, not disclosures

EU sustainable inflows set new records, climate pledges (and policy) come under fire, and UN talks hit a wall. Plus, we wade into the US ESG disclosure debate. 

A Week in Impact
Tesla: From 0 to 62 and everywhere in between

The G7 backs mandatory disclosures, the green transition causes mineral overstretch, and ESG ETFs begin to evolve. Plus, why is the sustainability picture so complicated for Tesla?

A Week in Impact
From intent to impact

ESG inflows cause froth, Big Oil finally has its Big Tobacco moment, why data needs a human lens. Plus, are investors and companies finally moving from intent to impact?

A Week in Impact
Who's outmanoeuvring whom?

The IEA calls for fossil fuel halt, banks pivot on green financing, companies talk (and talk) about carbon. Plus, how can investors outwit corporate spin?

A Week in Impact
The law of unintended consequences

Musk backs off from Bitcoin; SSGA warns of 'brown-spinning'; ESG alpha comes into question. Plus, what can we learn from the 'looming mismatch' between net zero and mineral supplies?

A Week in Impact
When sustainability falls victim to its own success

There are lessons to be learned from the rebalancing of the S&P Dow Jones Clean Energy index and BlackRock ETFs tracking it.

A Week in Impact
Putting Coinbase to the test: Can crypto ever be sustainable?

As crypto enters mainstream finance, it is important that we fully understand and address its sustainability implications

A Week in Impact
Investment groups take a look in the mirror 

With SDFR barrelling down the autobahn, are asset managers ready to meet their own demands?

A Week in Impact
Can machine learning bring ESG investing back on course?

ESG investing appears to be straying from its path but can machine learning help set it back on its course?

A Week in Impact
A little less conversation

Chevron under fire for greenwashing as a first-of-its-kind complaint is filed with the Federal Trade Commission.

A Week in Impact
The trouble with net zero

Can Shell really deliver on its net-zero commitment?

A Week in Impact
Putting a bandaid on a bullet wound

British American Tobacco's ESG score is yet the latest example of the misalignment between financial and sustainability outcomes.

A Week in Impact
Beyond the Vale

This month, Vale regained an investment-grade rating from Moody's. Is it deserved?

A Week in Impact
Is Airbus taking off or stalling?

Airbus revealed concepts for the world's first zero-emission aircraft. But it still faces an uncertain future.

A Week in Impact
Pricing the circular economy

Tomra "walks and talks like an industrial company but is valued like Amazon," boding well for the circular economy.

A Week in Impact
Unilever adds to fossil fuel pressure

Unilever is cutting oil and investing in renewable alternatives. Is this the start of the bioeconomy?

A Week in Impact
The problem with ESG ratings

What can India’s largest listed coal utility tell us about the sustainable data market? Arguably, that it doesn't work.

A Week in Impact
BP to Boohoo

BP's second-quarter results conclude a dismal season for the oil majors. But they can still turn it around.

A Week in Impact
Tesla's wild ride

Ten years ago, electric vehicles were a niche market. Today, their ubiquity is assured.

A Week in Impact
Fourth industrial revolution kicks into gear

There's a big conflict between companies' rhetoric and spending. Exxon is a shining example.

A Week in Impact
From resilience to regeneration

If the first recession since 2008 is a litmus test for the long-term viability of ESG, it looks like it might pass.

A Week in Impact
ESG in the time of coronavirus

Will investors stick with sustainability through COVID-19? More importantly, will corporates?

A Week in Impact
Can sustainability survive coronavirus?

Present market volatility is a stark reminder that we can’t always rely on purpose and profit to run in parallel. 

A Week in Impact
What does it take to create a new bottom line?

If we want investors to elevate social and environmental returns to the same level as financial returns, we first need to arm them with a metric that demonstrates what exactly success looks like.

Latest thinking
Week in Impact: Alexa, solve the climate crisis

A Week in Impact
Week in Impact: The problem with passives

A Week in Impact
Week in Impact: The looming cost of stranded assets

A Week in Impact
Week in Impact: Discord in Davos?

A Week in Impact
The evolution of Larry's letters

Does BlackRock's watershed CEO letter suggest investors and business leaders are finally taking climate risk seriously?

Latest thinking
Week in Impact: BlackRock's stake in the ground

A Week in Impact
Impact investment use cases: No one size fits all

What does a typical impact investor look like? As we find out, there’s no such thing.

Latest thinking
Week in Impact: It all hangs on COP 26

A Week in Impact
The greenest race in UK history

In a particularly fractured political climate, there's one issue around which the UK electorate has rallied. What might it mean for the country's uncertain future?

Latest thinking
Environmental policy: The UK’s next greatest export?

As the UK grapples with an uncertain future, there's one area in which we can still lead the global debate.

Latest thinking
Week in Impact: Another year, another record

Greenhouse gas concentration poses a threat to Paris agreement targets; China rolls back on renewables and forward on coal; France calls for "urgent" EU ESG rules.

A Week in Impact
Impact investing's data debacle

Investors have the financial clout, responsibility and impetus to address social and environmental crises such as climate change. But how are they doing it and what hurdles still lie in the way?

Latest thinking
Week in Impact: The empty promise of climate pledges

As evidence emerges that the world's existing climate policies will do little to slow global warming, governments, investors and lenders are urged to act.

A Week in Impact
Week in Impact: The green bond bubble

Nowhere is the demand for sustainable finance more evident than in the green bond market, but are there more effective ways to channel finance towards positive environmental - and social - outcomes?

Latest thinking
Week in Impact: Imagining a future without ESG

Another week, another assertion that ESG is completely, absolutely, entirely mainstream. Can that claim weather a recession? And what lies ahead for fossil fuel companies?

A Week in Impact
Business as usual in a burning building

A systems-level problem like climate change requires a system-level solution, but so far the financial community has been happy to play at the margins.

Latest thinking
Week in Impact: Winning slowly is still losing

Reversing climate change while managing social dislocation is the 21st Century's supertanker U-turn challenge. It's time to stop relying on technology and markets alone to provide smooth sailing.

A Week in Impact
Five takeaways from PRI in Person 2019

This month, we attended PRI in Person: a record gathering of asset managers and owners brought together to review the state of play for sustainable finance. The first of many climate-focused events that punctuated September, we came away with five takeaways and a cautious optimism for the future of responsible investing.

Latest thinking
Week in Impact: Climate Week kicks off

Climate Week has been heralded by a flurry of pledges from companies and financial institutions. What do they amount to? And should investors be doing more?

A Week in Impact
Week in Impact: Ready or not

Concern grows that financial institutions aren't prepared for climate change; appetite for sustainable investing is stymied by limited product choice; and credit ratings agencies join the ESG data race.

A Week in Impact
Week in Impact: Fossil fuels feel the burn

This week, the gulf widened between US and European approaches to responsible finance, fossil fuel companies ran into controversy, and MSCI acquired data prover Carbon Delta.

A Week in Impact
Week in Impact: From greenwashing to greenwishing

This week, asset managers honed in on the impact market, calls emerged for collaborative industry initiatives, and KKR raised $225bn for its impact fund.

A Week in Impact
Week in Impact: The Amazon burns; meat feels the heat

This week, the Amazon rainforest fires elicited backlash against the meat industry, while ESG ratings came under fire from researchers and asset managers.

A Week in Impact
Week in Impact: The fight to save capitalism

This week, business leaders responded to populism in an unexpected way; the relationship between pensions and climate change came under scrutiny; and Apollo Global Management joined the impact investment race.

A Week in Impact
A brief history of responsible investing

This week, we're taking a deep dive into the final frontier of sustainable investing: impact. What came first? Why now? And what obstacles lie ahead?

Latest thinking
The future is sustainable finance

This week, we're taking a deep dive into the final frontier of sustainable investing: impact. What came first? Why now? And what obstacles lie ahead?

Latest thinking
Rethink incentives or get used to greenwashing

For as long as financial returns are the only measure of investment performance, sustainability will remain a marketing tool. But there is one way to move the dial.

Latest thinking
A 3D view of sustainable investing

Asset managers tend to visualise different sustainable investment approaches as distinct points on a spectrum. But is the real picture so straightforward?

Latest thinking
What's in a name? When it comes to sustainable finance, quite a lot

Welcome to the first in our Impact Investing 101 series. Here, we take a deeper dive into what we're really talking about when we talk about impact investing.

Latest thinking
Can you have your purpose and profit too?

It's not impossible for a company to generate financial returns while making a positive social impact. But for a startup seeking funding, holding onto purpose becomes a much harder task.

Latest thinking
Fight, flight, freeze or fawn?

Royal Dutch hell, carbon's tokenisation treatment, woke MBAs, and oil's record cost of capital. Plus, the divest/engage dilemma gets tricky.

A Week in Impact
Good COP/Bad COP

A critical question hangs over COP26: Who's picking up the bill for the energy transition?

A Week in Impact
Aramco + Tesla have an identity problem

National emissions targets diverge; index providers face insurrection; Aramco wants to have its cake and eat it too. Plus, with a new $1trn valuation, is Tesla really a car company anymore?

A Week in Impact
Policy must move fast and fix things

Sustainable disclosure regulations propagate (and diverge); index influence amplifies corporate failings; ESG derivatives come under fire. Plus, what do Facebook and ESG have in common?

A Week in Impact
No wealth without [eco]health

This week: Private markets pivot to ESG; banks push to keep financing fossil fuels; the US becomes a panacea for renewable opportunities. Plus, we dive into the latest casualty of climate change: the portfolio risks of which are critically overlooked

A Week in Impact
How climate friendly is your capital?

To celebrate New York Climate Week, we measured the SDG impact of every US-domiciled fund. Download the full report below.

ESG's double-hedged sword

This week, investors short their way to net zero; funds rebranded as sustainable in name only; subjective ESG demands call for more specific approaches. Plus, how do you fold impact assessment into portfolio construction?

A Week in Impact
The KIIDs are not alright

This week, the DWS greenwashing probe set off dominoes; Cathie Wood's new ARK Investment Management LLC fund underscores a dilemma at the heart of the sustainable transition; climate emerges as the most urgent ESG factor. Plus, which SDGs are the greatest casualties of today's blanket approach to ESG?

A Week in Impact
Is it time for ESG to grow up?

This week, an ex-BlackRock head leads ESG backlash; investors and businesses face impact accounting revolution; money earmarked for good languishes under weak regulation. Plus, is it time to think beyond ESG?

A Week in Impact
Lessons from meme stonk mutualism

IPCC sounds climate 'code red'; direct indexing signals new direction for ESG investors; DWS pivots amid alleged internal challenges. Plus, Robinhood's IPO forces reflections on finance's social role.

A Week in Impact
Lithium: A catch-22 investment

Ratings providers are in the hot seat; the ESG bubble debate intensifies; Util makes IW Sustainable Investment Awards 2021 shortlist. Plus, what lessons can we learn from Rio's lithium investment?

A Week in Impact
Closing the qual-quant gap

Asset managers go on ESG buying spree; sustainable investing faces an existential question; ESG now a third of global assets. Plus, how can qualitative and quantitative analysis work together to support sustainability?

A Week in Impact
How sustainable is space travel?

Util partners with BNP's Manaos; ESG asset allocation concerns mount; net zero reaches tipping point (in more ways than one). Plus, space tourism has liftoff, forcing investors to ask difficult questions.

A Week in Impact
We need to talk about ESG outperformance

This week, the SEC set its sights on greenwashing; sustainable bond funds hit new highs; the debate deepened between active and passive. Plus, what will we learn from ESG's asset allocation problem?

A Week in Impact
Give us data, not disclosures

EU sustainable inflows set new records, climate pledges (and policy) come under fire, and UN talks hit a wall. Plus, we wade into the US ESG disclosure debate. 

A Week in Impact
Tesla: From 0 to 62 and everywhere in between

The G7 backs mandatory disclosures, the green transition causes mineral overstretch, and ESG ETFs begin to evolve. Plus, why is the sustainability picture so complicated for Tesla?

A Week in Impact
From intent to impact

ESG inflows cause froth, Big Oil finally has its Big Tobacco moment, why data needs a human lens. Plus, are investors and companies finally moving from intent to impact?

A Week in Impact
Who's outmanoeuvring whom?

The IEA calls for fossil fuel halt, banks pivot on green financing, companies talk (and talk) about carbon. Plus, how can investors outwit corporate spin?

A Week in Impact
The law of unintended consequences

Musk backs off from Bitcoin; SSGA warns of 'brown-spinning'; ESG alpha comes into question. Plus, what can we learn from the 'looming mismatch' between net zero and mineral supplies?

A Week in Impact
When sustainability falls victim to its own success

There are lessons to be learned from the rebalancing of the S&P Dow Jones Clean Energy index and BlackRock ETFs tracking it.

A Week in Impact
Putting Coinbase to the test: Can crypto ever be sustainable?

As crypto enters mainstream finance, it is important that we fully understand and address its sustainability implications

A Week in Impact
Investment groups take a look in the mirror 

With SDFR barrelling down the autobahn, are asset managers ready to meet their own demands?

A Week in Impact
Can machine learning bring ESG investing back on course?

ESG investing appears to be straying from its path but can machine learning help set it back on its course?

A Week in Impact
A little less conversation

Chevron under fire for greenwashing as a first-of-its-kind complaint is filed with the Federal Trade Commission.

A Week in Impact
The trouble with net zero

Can Shell really deliver on its net-zero commitment?

A Week in Impact
Putting a bandaid on a bullet wound

British American Tobacco's ESG score is yet the latest example of the misalignment between financial and sustainability outcomes.

A Week in Impact
Beyond the Vale

This month, Vale regained an investment-grade rating from Moody's. Is it deserved?

A Week in Impact
Is Airbus taking off or stalling?

Airbus revealed concepts for the world's first zero-emission aircraft. But it still faces an uncertain future.

A Week in Impact
Pricing the circular economy

Tomra "walks and talks like an industrial company but is valued like Amazon," boding well for the circular economy.

A Week in Impact
Unilever adds to fossil fuel pressure

Unilever is cutting oil and investing in renewable alternatives. Is this the start of the bioeconomy?

A Week in Impact
The problem with ESG ratings

What can India’s largest listed coal utility tell us about the sustainable data market? Arguably, that it doesn't work.

A Week in Impact
BP to Boohoo

BP's second-quarter results conclude a dismal season for the oil majors. But they can still turn it around.

A Week in Impact
Tesla's wild ride

Ten years ago, electric vehicles were a niche market. Today, their ubiquity is assured.

A Week in Impact
Fourth industrial revolution kicks into gear

There's a big conflict between companies' rhetoric and spending. Exxon is a shining example.

A Week in Impact
What do COVID and ESG have in common?

Systemic change at speed shows the emperor has no clothes

Latest thinking
What does it take to create a new bottom line?

If we want investors to elevate social and environmental returns to the same level as financial returns, we first need to arm them with a metric that demonstrates what exactly success looks like.

Latest thinking
The evolution of Larry's letters

Does BlackRock's watershed CEO letter suggest investors and business leaders are finally taking climate risk seriously?

Latest thinking
Impact investment use cases: No one size fits all

What does a typical impact investor look like? As we find out, there’s no such thing.

Latest thinking
The greenest race in UK history

In a particularly fractured political climate, there's one issue around which the UK electorate has rallied. What might it mean for the country's uncertain future?

Latest thinking
Environmental policy: The UK’s next greatest export?

As the UK grapples with an uncertain future, there's one area in which we can still lead the global debate.

Latest thinking
Impact investing's data debacle

Investors have the financial clout, responsibility and impetus to address social and environmental crises such as climate change. But how are they doing it and what hurdles still lie in the way?

Latest thinking
Business as usual in a burning building

A systems-level problem like climate change requires a system-level solution, but so far the financial community has been happy to play at the margins.

Latest thinking
Five takeaways from PRI in Person 2019

This month, we attended PRI in Person: a record gathering of asset managers and owners brought together to review the state of play for sustainable finance. The first of many climate-focused events that punctuated September, we came away with five takeaways and a cautious optimism for the future of responsible investing.

Latest thinking
A brief history of responsible investing

This week, we're taking a deep dive into the final frontier of sustainable investing: impact. What came first? Why now? And what obstacles lie ahead?

Latest thinking
The future is sustainable finance

This week, we're taking a deep dive into the final frontier of sustainable investing: impact. What came first? Why now? And what obstacles lie ahead?

Latest thinking
Rethink incentives or get used to greenwashing

For as long as financial returns are the only measure of investment performance, sustainability will remain a marketing tool. But there is one way to move the dial.

Latest thinking
A 3D view of sustainable investing

Asset managers tend to visualise different sustainable investment approaches as distinct points on a spectrum. But is the real picture so straightforward?

Latest thinking
What's in a name? When it comes to sustainable finance, quite a lot

Welcome to the first in our Impact Investing 101 series. Here, we take a deeper dive into what we're really talking about when we talk about impact investing.

Latest thinking
Can you have your purpose and profit too?

It's not impossible for a company to generate financial returns while making a positive social impact. But for a startup seeking funding, holding onto purpose becomes a much harder task.

Latest thinking
How climate friendly is your capital?

To celebrate New York Climate Week, we measured the SDG impact of every US-domiciled fund. Download the full report below.