This Capstone project was designed with New York Life MainStay Investments (NYLIM) to provide a holistic assessment of Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI). The white paper described the history and evolution of SRI, the global regulatory environment, the costs and benefits associated with investment practices, and the market size of SRI. The Capstone team utilized three multinational corporations – GE, Statoil, and Unilever – as case studies to reflect on the prospects for sustainable growth using ESG criteria. After dividing the project accordingly, the Capstone team used existing literature to produce a comprehensive report based on key findings in these areas. MainStay aims to use the report, written by the SIPA Capstone team, to educate the public and the investment community on the SRI marketplace establishing itself as a thought leader.
The evolving SRI is one at the forefront of the modernization of traditional investing and increased alignment between individual and corporate values and financial interests. The ability to invest directly in organizations based on performance metrics that include ESG factors is shaping many investors’ view of returns. And investors are increasingly able to quantify environmental and social impacts in traditional return terms. Additionally, corporations that excel in various ESG areas, as the cases discussed, are becoming models for other organizations to follow. Still, Challenges in the field include the need for standardization of SRI definitions, reporting, and evaluation of investment and corporation performance. SRI is a rapidly growing investment sector, and one that is likely to continue to expand in the U.S. context.