Morningstar Launches Index Suite Offering Exposure to SDG-aligned Impact Themes
Investment research firm Morningstar announced the launch of Morningstar Global Sustainable Activities Involvement Indexes (SAI), a new suite of benchmarks aimed at providing investors with exposure to companies with revenues aligned with specific UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across environmental and social themes.
The UN SDGs refer to the 17 categories of goals adopted as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the aim to protect the planet and improve the quality of life globally, with targets such as ending poverty and hunger, improving education, and protecting the environment.
In addition to passing rigorous ESG screens, index participants in the new SAI series must have significant revenue aligned to one or more impact themes. Index weightings are tilted towards companies with the greatest percentage of revenue derived from SDG-aligned activities, to strengthen the index exposure to the environmental and social impact themes.
According to Morningstar Indexes Head of ESG Strategy Thomas Kuh, the launch of the new impact-focused index series comes as investors’ sustainable investing focus evolves “beyond simply measuring ESG risk.” Kuh said:
“Investors are asking for more sophisticated tools to measure the impact that their assets are having on the environment and, more broadly, on society.”
The new suite launches with 5 indexes targeting specific impact themes, including climate action, human development, resource security, healthy ecosystems and basic needs, as well as three multi-impact indexes and a global aggregated impact theme index.
The ESG and revenue screens utilized by the new indexes are based on the ESG Impact Framework of Morningstar company Sustainalytics. Morningstar acquired Sustainalytics in 2020, and said at the time that it planned to integrate ESG data and insights across the firm’s research and solutions.
Morningstar Indexes Global Head of ESG Product Rob Edwards, said:
“We are actively developing our global index capabilities with a focus on impact and climate, working closely with our colleagues at Sustainalytics. Our new Sustainable Activities Involvement Indexes are an important step, and we will be introducing additional tools for investors in the coming months.”
Vikram Puppala, Morningstar Sustainalytics’ Global Head of Product Strategy added:
“Building on investor’s fiduciary responsibilities, a credible and robust strategy for responsible investing includes both ESG risk and impact considerations. Investing in companies whose activities align with impact themes that matter to clients and contribute to the globally recognized UN SDGs can help to advance impact strategies.”