This week we wanted to call your attention to a report we found interesting on ESG and its media coverage from Cognito, a communications agency. Below are what we think are the key highlights, but if you want more data, we encourage you to read the full report.
Top 10 Snippets for us:
- “Coverage of ESG investment increased over 70% in 2020 in our global sample of influential media.”
- “…the number of journalists covering ESG and sustainable investment has multiplied severalfold in two years”
- “While coverage may not increase at this pace, the signs this year are that media interest is, at the least, stabilising at this much higher level.”
- “Performance stories – i.e. whether ESG funds can perform as well as mainstream investments – are less salient that many might assume (given the long running debate).”
- “Greenwashing stories are more prominent in Europe than US…a greater emphasis on policy developments in the States.”
- (On journalists) “They want data and proof points, and are suspicious of any slick presentation.”
- ““We as media are in need of transparent, objective information. It is not doable for journalists to do their own research and to check whether the fund manager’s words are true. There is a need for benchmarking, transparency and unambiguity. ESG is used as a marketing tool by some, in order to make their products more attractive. That’s not the way forward. ESG must be embedded in the organisation’s DNA.”
- “Journalists expressed varied views on what is going to be big this year, but climate was cited by all, and regulation and data by most.”
- “So what explains the upsurge in the industry getting interested? …At least one big factor is that active managers see an opportunity to fight back against passive that doesn’t involve a) being cheaper or b) being better.”
- “With the Biden Administration’s initiatives and the introduction of the EU taxonomy rules, climate change investing will become more central than ever.”
Developing a robust ESG strategy is becoming crucial for both corporates and investors. As we have said many times in the past, communicating this strategy properly to stakeholders is also crucial. This report underlines that it is not sufficient to have an ESG implementation strategy alone, corporates also need an ESG communication strategy.
Furthermore, we believe the media coverage of ESG issues reflects the appetite there is out there (not only with investors, but also with the overall community) for this kind of information. Make sure your ESG communication strategy accounts for this, as even in developed markets (as this report showed) it may provide an edge. If you have any doubts or concerns on this, feel free to reach out!
I hope you found this interesting. As usual, if there is anything we can help you with, please reach out.
CEO, Miranda ESG
Contacts at Miranda Partners