Institutional investors are increasingly working to better understand the potential financial impact of environmental issues on companies in their portfolios. They are calling for greater company attention in areas such as climate change, energy and energy extraction-related risks (such as coal combustion and hydraulic fracturing), energy efficiency, recycling and environmental hazards in the air, water and soil. Investors play an important role in environmental topics by drawing attention to the relevant issue and influencing disclosure.
The potential negative effects for companies that do not manage environmental risks are increasing costs (e.g. the need to clean up spills or restore the landscape on exploration sites), reputational damage in the event of headline-grabbing polluting incidents, or litigation costs. Integrating environmental considerations into a corporate strategy can also present opportunities. Using resources efficiently will decrease costs, while companies offering innovative solutions, such as printer suppliers helping their customers to get by with fewer and more energy-efficient printers, can gain a competitive edge.