Sustainalytics' Investment Research Report Reveals ESG Risks and Opportunities

TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sustainalytics, a leading provider of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research and analysis, today released a new thematic research report titled, "10 for 2015—Generating value in a fragile market." The report offers a macro level view of current economic and financial market developments from a dedicated sustainability/ESG perspective and a micro level view that reveals the most significant ESG risks and opportunities at 10 companies. By delivering valuable ESG insights, the report is intended to support investors in their asset allocation and asset selection processes.

The macro level view discusses the mounting systemic tensions that are driven by the abundance of liquidity, historically low or partly below zero rates, and stretched valuation levels in many asset classes. It also looks at the implications of the slump in oil prices with regard to the overall economic picture, the stranded assets debate in the oil and gas sector, the discussion around the decarbonization of the economy and climate change policy.

The micro level view looks at 10 companies that were identified to have ESG-related stories that describe a potentially material financial impact triggered by an event or a development in the course of 2015. The 10 subject companies span eight countries and ten industries. While several companies are embedding positive long-term ESG-related value drivers into their business models, so far largely neglected by the market, others face new ESG challenges which could present risks as well as opportunities for investors.

Sustainalytics' research offers a positive view of Intel, GlaxoSmithKline, Lafarge and Holcim, Telenor and Pemex, with value drivers ranging from innovative remuneration models and energy efficient programs, to human rights policies and health and safety improvements.

The analysis takes a generally negative stance on DuPont, Lonmin, National Commercial Bank, and, to a lesser extent, Netflix, which faces important corporate governance challenges despite beating analyst expectations for Q4 2014. The report calls out new and potentially under-appreciated ESG risk exposure created by Coca-Cola's recent entry into the energy drinks and milk niches and points to the company's faint strategic awareness of these risks.

In light of high-profile bribery charges last year in China, GlaxoSmithKline is recognized in the report for making substantive changes to its marketing and sales remuneration practices, which could help it to curb future ethical lapses.

The research also spotlights Intel's plan to build a "conflict-free" supply chain by 2016, which positions the company to capitalize on possible increased demand for "ethical" electronics.

"We firmly believe — and our report findings demonstrate— that analyzing markets and companies through an ESG lens can reveal risks and opportunities not necessarily captured in traditional valuation approaches," said Dr. Hendrik Garz, Managing Director of Thematic Research at Sustainalytics. "By leveraging our insights, investors can supplement their existing securities selection models or inform new investment strategies."

To present the findings from its "10 for 2015" report, Sustainalytics will host a webinar at 10:00 a.m. EST/4:00 p.m. CET on Thursday, February 19, 2015. To register for the webinar, click here, and to download a summary of the report, click here.

About Sustainalytics

Headquartered in Amsterdam, Sustainalytics is an independent ESG research and analysis firm supporting investors around the world with the development and implementation of responsible investment strategies. With 13 offices globally, Sustainalytics partners with institutional investors who integrate environmental, social and governance information and assessments into their investment decisions. Today, the firm has over 200 staff members, including more than 100 analysts with varied multidisciplinary expertise of more than 40 industries. For the past three years, Sustainalytics was voted best independent responsible investment research firm in Extel's IRRI survey. For more information, visit www.sustainalytics.com.

CONTACT: Media Contacts: Global Sarah Cohn, Director of Marketing sarah.cohn@sustainalytics.com P) +1 646.963.6944 North America Melissa Chase, Marketing Specialist melissa.chase@sustainalytics.com P) +1 647.317.3646 Europe Marthe Reinette, Marketing Manager marthe.reinette@sustainalytics.com P) +31 20 205 0017

Source: Sustainalytics