As the Fed was meeting to consider cutting interest rates, it lost control of the very benchmark rate that it manages.Market Insiderread more
Activists with Black Lives Matter, who met privately with Buttigieg in the weeks after police shot and killed Eric Logan, say the 37-year-old mayor brushed off their concerns...2020 Electionsread more
Trump said he "is revoking" a federal waiver that allowed the state to craft its own rules on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.Politicsread more
Wall Street economists think the Fed will cut rates by 25 basis points at its September meeting but have differing views about what will happen in the future.Marketsread more
J.P. Morgan Chase chief Dimon says he doesn't think the U.S. is close to recession and called the Fed's Powell "a quality human."Marketsread more
The unspecified action comes after the U.S. accused Iran of carrying out the weekend attacks on critical Saudi oil installations.Politicsread more
Drone and missile debris recovered by investigators at the Saudi Aramco attack site is proof of Iranian culpability, a Saudi defense ministry representative told media on...World Politicsread more
Four Wall Street firms downgraded FedEx after the company's poor earnings report.Marketsread more
The Business Roundtable said its members forecast that growth this year will clock in at 2.3%, down from last quarter's estimate of 2.6%.Politicsread more
Some worry the regulators will squander an opportunity to crack down on potentially monopolistic behavior due to their own infighting.Technologyread more
FedEx CEO Fred Smith is "basically implying that we're going to import" a global slowdown, says CNBC's Jim Cramer.Investingread more
The environmental, social and governance (ESG) values of a company are becoming more and more important to making investment decisions and can lead to positive results, according to experts in the industry.
The trend of ESG investing only became relevant in the past few years, but is now becoming part of the mainstream investing paradigm, according to Hendrik Bartel, co-founder and CEO of data firm TruValue Labs. Events that have pushed forward ESG concerns include the Volkswagen emissions scandal and the fraud revelations at Wells Fargo.
Bartel started his company about four years ago. It provides ESG data and software to investors and asset managers. According to Bartel, a lot of ESG data can be flawed.
"It's very retrospective. It's very subjective and extremely expensive, as it is human-curated and there are lots of biases that come in. Lots of the data is self-reported," he told CNBC via email.
Instead, TruValue Labs uses artificial intelligence to sift through data and highlights anything relating to ESG criteria. The company claims that access to real-time ESG data reduces risk, reveals opportunities, and keeps companies accountable.
Companies are increasingly understanding the importance of reporting on their ESG values. A report from audit firm PwC in October showed how quickly this change has happened.
"The percentage of S&P 500 companies issuing sustainability reports has jumped to 80 percent in 2015 compared to 20 percent in 2011," said Sara DeSmith, U.S. sustainable business solutions assurance leader at PwC, in a press release.
"With this increased reporting comes added expectations from investors on what these findings mean for them when taking a stake in a company."
Bartel claimed that investors who incorporate ESG into their decision making would see a positive uptick on their returns.
"That's what we are starting to see with some of the pioneers that have successfully implemented an ESG strategy," he said.
In fact, a Hermes report from September looked at the value of ESG investing and found share prices of well governed companies performed better than those of poorly governed companies by an average of 30 basis points.
"It's a risk mitigation factor," added Bartel. "A risk measurement that can be applied. I think ESG is a measure of transparency: it's sort of knowing what you invest in and agree with the company on how they do things."
As an example of the potential of ESG investing, here are two charts which show the 12-month performance of two contrasting funds.
The first, is the USA Mutuals Vice Fund, which invests in stocks in the so-called "sin" sector: Arms, gambling, tobacco and alcohol. Over 1 year, the fund is up around 6.5 percent.
The second fund is JOHCM U.K. Opportunities. Ratings agency Morningstar gives the fund an above average sustainability score based on the portfolio's ESG score. Over 1 year, the fund is up around 12.3 percent.
Bob Smith is president and CIO of Sage Advisory, an asset manager that leverages ETF (exchange-traded fund) strategies and with over $12 billion of assets under management, which uses due diligence and ESG as part of its selection process. He says investors are increasingly aware of environmental concerns and governance issues.
"I think that there's a growing social awareness of a number of different issues that need to be addressed and those companies that address them appropriately and manage them appropriately report on their successes as a result of that, more and more people are inclined to want to be associated with those movements," he told CNBC in a phone interview.
Sage's ETF strategy is to examine the ESG and sustainability factors of a fund's constituents and gives it a group score, then compares it with other funds.
"In doing so, what we want is the upper crust of all those entities that really manage their environmental, social and governance issues at a very high level compared to their peers," he said.
According to Smith, companies outside of the U.S. have shown more commitment and focus on ESG.
"That's not to say U.S. companies have not been focused, but you'll find that there's a lot more companies globally and outside the U.S. that have really taken the bull by the horns. Having said that, I think that there's a very rapid acceleration going on in the United States," he said.