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A new report from the world’s biggest asset management firm predicted that environment, social and governance (ESG) performance will be a key driver of gains and losses in investments. As investors shift money into sustainable funds, companies that perform well on ESG metrics will see their value rise, while those that perform poorly will fall in value, according to the report. (Financial Times)

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Talking point: It’s been a month since BlackRock committed to significantly increasing its ESG exposure and scrubbing its actively managed portfolios of clients that earn more than a quarter of their revenues from thermal coal. This new report emphasizes the financial significance of that decision, not just the ethical one. Historically, ESG investments have been viewed as nice-to-haves at best and detrimental to bottom lines at worst; BlackRock is saying the opposite is true—that sustainable investments are essential and add value. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is holding the firm to its commitment on sustainable investing: this week, the presidential candidate pressed BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to detail how he plans to make ESG “the new standard for investing” and urged him to support her Climate Risk Disclosure Act, which requires firms to disclose their climate-related financial risk.

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The Business Roundtable, comprised of chief executives from nearly 200 U.S. companies, repealed its commitment to “shareholder primacy.” A statement signed by 181 CEOs—including Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Tim Cook of Apple and Jeff Bezos of Amazon—states the “purpose of a corporation” is to service all of its stakeholders, giving equal weight to employees, customers, society at large and investors. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The statement follows an April letter from Dimon, who leads the Business Roundtable, in which he encouraged other CEOs to take stances on public policy issues and discouraged fixating on quarterly earnings. Eschewing shareholder primacy isn’t strictly altruistic. Consumers and institutional investors are increasingly considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their purchasing and funding decisions. For example, though safeguarding a company against climate change risk can be costly in the short term, it’s what a growing number of large investors—and some policymakers—are beginning to demand. The letter comes as a number of the signatory companies, including Amazon and Walmart, are facing a wave of activism from their own employees demanding both higher pay and changes in company policy on a wide variety of issues from gun rights to immigration enforcement.

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The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is reviewing its portfolio to identify companies linked to human rights violations in China. CPPIB has ownership stakes in Chinese surveillance equipment companies that the U.S. wants blacklisted for violating the rights of minority populations in China. “Companies that violate human rights aren’t positioned to succeed and have no place in any portfolio that exists to deliver risk adjusted returns over multiple generations,” said Michel Leduc, global head of public affairs and communications. CPPIBis still looking for additional Chinese investments to help diversity its portfolio. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: The review comes as financial institutions and companies face increasing pressure to disclose their social and environmental track records. On Tuesday, Norway’s biggest pension fund said it’s divesting from companies that generate at least five per cent of their  revenues from alcohol and gambling. Scholars on ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing—including Harvard Business School professor Robert Eccles—note that while portfolio managers once viewed ESGs as nice-to-haves, they increasingly treat them as crucial to their bottom line, not just their public image.