ESG Investment E-book

ESG E-book

This e-book report can be useful for your firm's leadership council. They may prefer to share it with Investment Relations, Treasury, CFO, External Affairs, Sustainability Officers, Environmental Executives, and representative staff.

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Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Mainstream Investment

An AHC Group Trends Paper

by Sebastian Vanderzeil and Bruce Piasecki, of AHC Group
with European alignment by Michael Spanos, of Global Sustain

Format: PDF • 31 pages
Copyright © 2015 by AHC Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Introductory Chapter:

"There is little doubt, based on the events of the 20th century, that capitalism is one of the greatest forces in human history. The question in the 21st century is whether we can focus a proportion of this force on the significant societal and environmental challenges that we now face. Part of the answer to this question may be found in the emerging area of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrics and its interaction with mainstream investing."

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Table of Contents

  • Where ESG Came From
  • New Approach to Risk
  • Leaders That Matter on Money and Corporate Risks
  • Update on Tools
  • Role of Companies: Innovation and Sustainability
  • Mainstreaming ESG: Balancing Your Portfolio
  • Appendix

Key Topics Covered by This Report

Examples of ESG Metrics


  • Carbon emission reporting
  • Waste reduction
  • Spills or dumping


  • Human rights violations
  • Labor practices
  • Trade violations
  • Product liability


  • Executive misconduct
  • Independent board majority
  • Significant vote against pay practices

(Source: MSCI, ESGRatings, 2014)

  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-focused ratings agencies are attempting to expose all of the "iceberg" of a company beyond the financial statements "tip."
  • Carbon bubble math, promoted by Ceres and CarbonTracker, to change the valuation of energy and energy-related companies with dependence on carbon-emission-intensive processes and reserves.
  • Growth in activist investors providing an avenue for greater shareholder input into the ESG decisions of companies.
  • Divestment of particular fossil fuel equities by education institutions and other entities.
  • Role of existing Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and low carbon indices at MSCI and other organizations as well as the emergence of indices that exclude fossil fuel companies.
  • Role and effectiveness of ratings agencies in ESG metrics for investors and for companies to measure themselves against since 2008.


The contents of this e-book were developed from original research and interviews with leading thinkers in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrics, finance, and corporate excellence with Dr. Bruce Piasecki and the author. The e-book does not directly quote any of the interviewees, but seeks to create a picture of ESG metrics and mainstream investment based on the insights these conversations provided. The conversations were based on topics the research group identified as fundamental to the investment in ESG debate.

The interviewees were:

  • John Wilson, Head of Research and Governance, Cornerstone Capital
  • Paula Luff, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, HESS
  • Bruce Kahn, Portfolio Manager, Sustainable Insight Capital Management
  • Hewson Baltzell, Executive Director, Head of Product Development, Environmental, Social & Governance Research, MSCI
  • Timothy Smith, Senior Vice President, Director of ESG Stakeholder Engagement, Walden Asset Management
  • Lenora Suki, Senior Strategist, Sustainability Product Initiatives, Bloomberg
  • Tom Burke, Chairman, E3G

About Authors

Sebastian Vanderzeil

Sebastian VanderzeilSebastian Vanderzeil is currently a Dean's Scholar, completing a Masters of Business Administration at New York University's Stern School of Business. He was a member of the NYU Stern that placed first at the inaugural Yale National Low Carbon Investing Competition in 2014.

Prior to his MBA, Sebastian worked as an economic consultant with global technical services group, AECOM, where he advised on the development and financing of major infrastructure across Asia and Australia. Sebastian also worked in the Queensland State Government as a policy advisor on water and climate change. He was part of the establishment team for Australia's first government-owned carbon advisory and trading organization, Ecofund Queensland.

He also has a Bachelor of Natural Resources Economics (Hons. 1st class) from the University of Queensland, Australia.

Bruce Piasecki
President and Founder
AHC Group, Inc.

Bruce PiaseckiBruce Piasecki received his Master's degree and Doctorate from Cornell University, and was a tenured professor at both Clarkson University and the business school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He is the president and founder of AHC Group, Inc., a management consulting firm.

Toyota, Walmart, Shell, and Suncor Energy are among the hundreds of global companies he has advised in the critical areas of corporate governance, climate change, environmental strategy, product innovation, and sustainability.

Dr. Piasecki is the author of ten books on business policy, including New York Times bestseller Doing More With Less. A highly sought-after speaker and educator, Dr. Piasecki offers lectures, workshops, and seminars throughout North America and the world.

Michael Spanos
Managing Director
Global Sustain Ltd.

Michael SpanosMichael's portfolio includes corporate responsibility, sustainability, accountability, SRI/ESG, non-financial reporting and business excellence. He also facilitates sustainability conferences and training events.

His expertise lies in providing leadership in sustainability strategy issues, CR measurement and reporting, supporting CR activities, assisting companies in improving sustainability performance and recognition through metrics/indices, awards and initiatives, serving as the critical link for the formation of partnerships with NGOs/foundations, think tanks, institutions, governments, and businesses to accomplish sustainability objectives and identifying and maximizing commercial opportunities in the sustainability field.

Recently, Michael was elected as one of five experts to advise the European Commission on their 80 billion Euro objective of investing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Michael Spanos on Linkedin

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ESG and Mainstream Investment

ESG Investment E-book

This e-book report can be useful for your firm's leadership council. They may prefer to share it with Investment Relations, Treasury, CFO, External Affairs, Sustainability Officers, Environmental Executives, and representative staff.