We consider any intangible factor that can have an impact on a company’s core business value – namely growth, profitability, capital efficiency and risk exposure – to be financially material. Factors such as a company’s ability, to innovate, attract and retain talent, to become Paris-Aligned or anticipate regulatory changes matter from an investor’s point of view because they have significant impacts on a company’s competitive position and long-term financial performance.
As an asset manager, we focus on identifying financially relevant sustainability factors. For this reason, we have created our sectorial materiality frameworks which help analysts focus on those factors that are most relevant to financial performance. This helps to ensure that we integrate financially material sustainability factors into our investment process in a structured manner. Because these factors are relatively under-researched by most investors, our integration of financially material sustainability factors in the investment process allows us to make unique and better-informed investment decisions for the long-term.
Once we have identified and prioritized the material sustainability issues for each industry, our analysis shifts to the company level and evaluates how well company management is addressing each of these factors. Based on this analysis, we adjust our financial, growth and risk assumptions in order to obtain a better estimate of fair value, which not only takes into account short-term financial projections but also gives ample consideration to longer term sustainability factors.
Essentially, we determine which companies are most likely to remain competitive in changing business environments and are therefore best positioned to continue to create value in a sustainable way.