Environmental and social factors gaining ground in pension fund investing – September 2020
If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it is the importance of the community in which we live and work. There have been many uplifting stories in social media about acts of goodwill, not just by individuals, but by companies who have responded to the crisis in a positive way. For example, manufacturers who switched to producing ventilators at short notice, hotel chains that agreed to house the homeless, supermarkets who prioritised delivery slots for the vulnerable and elderly to name but a few. Not only that, but employees have been sharing positive stories about the way their companies have looked after their financial and emotional wellbeing. Many firms have offered social events via Zoom for their staff, or have topped up salaries for those on furlough, or offered mental health counselling. More recently, companies have had to give careful consideration to the wellbeing of their employees as businesses start to re-open.
What are the implications for a pension fund investor of such activities, whether they are either good or bad? Should a pension fund worry about the social behaviour of the companies in which they invest? Can social behaviour ultimately impact the value of a company’s share price?