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Sustainalytics CEO Michael Jantzi on Measuring ESG Performance

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Published on Feb 2, 2012

Sustainalytics CEO Michael Jantzi describes how Sustainalytics Measures Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) performances of companies:

" We very much take a best-of-sector approach because
that is generally the way investors look at these issues. It's usually not
highlight the best companies in the world for me, it's usually well I am
looking at the oil sector, I am looking at the financial services sector, tell
me what companies within the sectors are doing a better job than their
industry counterparts. And the reality is that if you are looking at an oil
and gas company versus a bank, the environmental and social challenges
are very different. So we are comparing apples to apples, oranges to
oranges. What do we benchmark against, what are best practices in the
industry and we will look at if it's a global multinational wherever they are
operating, you would expect them, or we expect them to operate to the
highest standards, whether they are in North America, Europe or in a less
developed economy, and some other part of the world. We look at
international standards and norms, and so whether it's on environmental
issues, whether it's on human right's issues, whether it's on issues like
landmines or whatever it might be, there are growing number of
international conventions that are out there, that set a global standard
again, that is precedent setting for wherever we are in the world. So it's
best practices, it's international law, international norms and standards, it's
not something that Sustainalytics stands up and says we think this is the
way it should be necessarily. It's that 20 years of experience underpinned
by the global knowledge.

I think there are some core issues that transcend national boundary. So human rights is one of those things and then understanding that generally wherever companies operate, they need to respect human rights. Environment is another issue that is justcore to our clients and our clients whether in the United States or Canadaacross Europe and Australia or Asia, environmental issues are core and of course there the issue of climate change remains a paramount issue.
But then there are other social environmental issues that find themselves
either higher or lower on the agenda, depending on where you are. So for
example, nuclear energy is something that for whatever reason finds itself at most times higher in a European context in places like the UK, Germany,
for example. But in France it's not particularly an alien issue, so there are
regional disparities in some of the issues that are out there."

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