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Responsible and Impact Investing

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Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility Through Lending

Financial institutions continue to develop products to encourage Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals. The Loan Market Association has recently published Sustainability Linked Loan Principles to guide the use of loan instrument terms to promote the achievement of the borrower’s sustainability goals. As with disclosure and measurement associated with corporate disclosures intended to appeal to socially responsible investors, the success of such Sustainability Linked Loans in promoting better sustainability performance will largely depend on the borrower’s ability to set ambitious but realistic goals that are measurable and verifiable by third parties. 

Companies who have a deep and thorough understanding of their products life cycle (from all the raw material inputs through the end of the products useful life with the customer) will have the best chance of working with their lender to design sustainability performance targets that will actually move the needle.  As more of these loans are created, it will then be interesting to see how financial institutions report to their investors on how these lending products are improving the sustainability of their loan portfolios. 

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Bryan Cave Continues Support for Corporate Sustainability

Bryan Cave participated in a daylong conference at Fordham University exploring opportunities and challenges that participants in the capital markets face as they look to harness the power of corporate sustainability data.  Alongside Bryan Cave attorneys, the event featured voices from academia, leading investment firms as well as ESG rating and research agencies.  The conference was jointly presented by Fordham Law School and Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business.

The conference, “The Corporate Sustainability Movement: The Flood of Data,” gathered a diverse audience and presented perspectives on this theme from users (the investors), providers (the companies and reporting agencies), as well as exploring innovation and ideals for how disclosure can enhance the market. To find out more about the conference, visit the organizer’s website.

Ken Henderson, partner in Bryan Cave’s New York office, moderated a lively panel to discuss the current state of corporate sustainability and ESG data disclosure, what the experts envision as the ideal standard and expectation of reporting (both for the benefit of investors, companies and other stakeholders), and the potential roadmaps to reach this goal.  Harnessing the perspectives of panelists whose backgrounds include experience as reporting and research agents and financial advisors and investors, Ken kept up a lively debate and integrated particular insights and questions from the audience into the discussion.

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Bryan Cave Organizes Symposium on Impact Investing

Bryan Cave recently organized a half-day symposium on the opportunities and legal considerations related to responsible and impact investing. The “Responsible and Impact Investing Symposium,” held on November 10, was co-hosted by Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business and featured leaders in this growing field who discussed opportunities and challenges for investors, private foundations, financial advisors and for-profit entities. More than 135 guests attended, including investment managers and private wealth advisors, foundation representatives, asset managers, financial analysts, corporate counsel and others.

VIDEOS: To access videos of the symposium sessions described in this post, click here. To review the program agenda and speaker bios, click here.

The program was kicked off by Convener Roberta Gordon of Bryan Cave’s New York office, who launched the afternoon’s discussion of using philanthropic and investment dollars to maximize social change. She introduced the program’s many illustrious speakers, including Thomas P. DiNapoli, the Comptroller of the State of New York. Mr. DiNapoli, who is the sole trustee of the $181 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, addressed how he manages the Fund to advance environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) policies while discharging his fiduciary duties to attain performance benchmarks and minimize risk. Among other things, the Comptroller described how the Fund’s engagement with companies has resulted in key improvements to corporate behavior, particularly with respect to climate change. Watch this video.

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