ATLANTA & BOSTON & CHICAGO & CINCINNATI & NEW YORK & SAN FRANCISCO & ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Investment Consultants Sustainability Working Group – United States (ICSWG-US) launched in May 2021 with 14 founding member organizations. Now a 17-member group, the ICSWG-US’ organizations represent more than $36 trillion of worldwide assets under advisement.
The ICSWG-US is a collaboration among investment consulting firms to engage with its collective stakeholders and empower asset owners and their ultimate beneficiaries to advance sustainable investment practices across the investment industry, and to advocate for decision-useful, transparent, measurable, and comparable Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics to assist industry participants in meeting their independent fiduciary decisions and responsibilities.
Since its inception, the ICSWG-US has engaged with many industry stakeholders on sustainable finance-related topics, from regulators to collaborative investor initiatives, to ensure that institutional investment consultants’ perspectives were represented. The ICSWG-US News page (https://icswg-us.org/news) features a number of statements and regulatory comments issued publicly by the group, including comments submitted to the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others and the ICSWG-US support for the ESG Data Convergence Initiative (EDCI) that was launched jointly by asset owners and managers to provide comparable, decision-useful ESG metrics for private equity.
Looking ahead, the ICSWG-US will continue to advance leading industry practices and education across sustainability reporting and disclosures, investor stewardship practices, and regulatory engagement.
The Investment Consultants Sustainable Working Group – United States (ICSWG-US) is a collaboration among investment consulting firms to engage with its collective stakeholders and empower asset owners and their ultimate beneficiaries to advance sustainable investment practices across the investment industry. The ICSWG-US aims to support sustainable investment practices across institutional asset owners and asset managers. Through this effort, ICSWG-US members seeks to provide perspectives from the consultant community and be a resource on activities such as standardization of environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) integration and climate-related reporting, regulations, and innovations
Following are some quotations from ICSWG-US member firms regarding their participation in ICSWG-US and the value the group provides:
Heather H. Myers, Partner, Non-Profit Solutions Leader, Aon Investments USA says: “The focused discussion and engagement with peers and other key stakeholders on topics associated with responsible investing, ESG-reporting and a myriad of related topics is beneficial for our work with clients and the industry.”
Sarah Edwards, Senior Investment Director at Cambridge Associates says: “Cambridge Associates is proud to work alongside our peers to tackle systems-level issues like climate change, social inequality, and racial injustice, which cannot be solved in silos but rather together as one voice. The industry needs more collaborative platforms like the ICSWG-US to provide strong, clear, and consistent guidance to regulators and the investing community that ultimately serve to bolster progress on these issues.”
Tom Shingler, Senior Vice President, ESG Practice Leader at Callan says: “We’re proud to be a founding member and contributor of the ICSWG-US. The group’s efforts to advocate for transparency, best practices, and standardization around financially material ESG factor reporting are paramount for Callan clients and all institutional investors who have these programs. Investors need access to actionable information to incorporate ESG factors, and ICSWG-US is at the forefront of this effort.”
Linsey Schoemehl Payne, Chief Compliance Officer, Managing Partner at Marquette Associates says: “Marquette has enjoyed collaborating with its consulting peers as we collectively seek to improve the sustainable investing experience for our clients. This past year has highlighted the unwavering objectives of sustainable investors, making it that much more important to continue our work around developing frameworks and best practices for building successful, sustainable investment portfolios.”
Sarah Bernstein, Head of Sustainability, Managing Principal at Meketa says: “Meketa is proud to be a founding member of the ICSWG-US. We look forward to our continued work with the ICSWG-US to better support our clients in addressing sustainability investment issues that have become critical to consider as fiduciaries. The ICSWG-US collaboration with our peers helps encourage and advance long-term sustainable investment best practices, transparency, and consistency in decision-useful information vital to successful long-term investment returns.”
Dulari Pancholi, CFA, CAIA, Principal, Co-Head of the NEPC Impact Investing Committee says: “As a founding member of the ICSWG-US, NEPC is proud to collaborate with our peers to increase education, standardization, and transparency across the investment industry. Especially in light of today’s pushback against ESG-driven strategies, we stand steadfast in our belief that sustainability, impact investing, and ESG integration all have a fundamental role in the future of investing and portfolio construction. The work we’re doing with ICSWG-US will ensure that clients of all types are better able to align their financial strategies with organizational missions.”
Kerry Galvin, Senior Consultant, CFA at Russell Investments says: “Russell Investments looks forward to collaborating with our consulting peers to set forth consistent industry standards and best-practices upon which interested plan sponsors can develop well thought-out and effective sustainable investment programs.”
Maureen O’Brien, Senior Vice President, and Corporate Governance Director at Segal Marco says: “ICSWG-US is effective at enabling consulting firms to communicate publicly on ESG issues where we find alignment. We strive to create more clarity on ESG definitions and relevance to professional investing.”
Jana Holt, Global Director, Sustainable Investing Solutions at SEI says: “Cross-industry collaboration is invaluable as sustainable investing continues to grow and evolve. We are pleased to participate in the ICSWG-US, which enables us to learn from our peers and contribute to a more sustainable investment industry. By working together, all ICSWG-US members are better able to serve our clients’ long-term interests and help them build brave futuresSM.”
Lauren Gellhaus, Vice President, Wilshire says: “Collaboration has and will continue to be of paramount importance as the sustainability landscape evolves and matures. While every relationship and portfolio is unique, working to increase standardization, improve transparency, and advocate for alignment is in the best interest of all clients. As a founding member of ICSWG-US, Wilshire looks forward to continued collaboration with its peers so that we can all better serve our clients and the broader investment community.”
Christopher Thompson, Head of North American Equity Research at WTW says: “Now more than ever, it’s essential to use our collective resources to advance sustainability efforts in our industry. We are proud of what the ICSWG-US has been able to achieve in its first year. WTW looks forward to continuing our work with the group around ESG integration and climate disclosure.”