Governance, Stewardship and Sustainability: Theory, Practice and Evidence

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Governance, Stewardship and Sustainability: Theory, Practice and Evidence

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Governance, Stewardship and Sustainability: Theory, Practice and Evidence is a primer that brings together principles of corporate governance, stewardship and sustainability in the context of institutional investment. The book accompanies the ICGN’s signature training programme Governance, Stewardship and Sustainability, but can be read or taught on a stand-alone basis.

Stewardship codes are developing in diverse markets to provide standards and a framework for responsible institutional investment practices and to meet investor fiduciary duties to beneficiaries. At the same time, stewardship is establishing itself as a profession within the institutional investment community, involving asset owners, asset managers, advisors and service providers. While codes provide a starting point, the application of stewardship in practical terms can be challenging for many institutional investors.

In our view, there are few, if any books that address investor stewardship both from a theoretical and practical level. This book seeks to plug that gap, focusing on practitioners and their need to apply these concepts in their professional lives.

We believe the distinguishing features of our book are as follows:

  • The linkage of the book and authors to ICGN and its own policy framework is a distinctive strength, as ICGN is well-known and respected globally in the institutional investment sector.
  • The book focuses specifically on stewardship as a growing profession in many institutional investment firms and links responsible investing to stewardship and fiduciary duty.
  • It provides a theoretical framework for corporate governance and stewardship from an investor perspective and examines research and evidence relating to the effectiveness of governance and stewardship.
  • It addresses the governance of stewardship within investment institutions, including managing conflicts of interest, oversight of integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into the investment decision-making process, and reporting to beneficiaries.
  • It provides examples of practical tools to aid in the integration of stewardship in investment decision-making, including how to evaluate a company from an ESG perspective, as well as monitoring, engaging, voting, and reporting to beneficiaries.
  • The case study on Volkswagen provides an excellent example for applying tools of ESG analysis in an inductive process.
  • The authors are experienced investment practitioners with practical subject matter expertise in both corporate governance and investor stewardship. They also write and teach widely on these topics. They are both well-known and recognised for thought-leadership in the professional corporate governance and stewardship community.

As a primer, we believe its relative brevity across a wide range of topics is a strength. But this means that some key issues of governance, stewardship, and sustainability are not analysed exhaustively. Where possible, we provide readers with links to ICGN’s own policy materials as well as other professional and academic references that provide greater detail on the topics in question.

There are two main audiences for this book. Firstly, there is the professional audience: the growing number of stewardship and sustainability practitioners charged with incorporating the consideration of ESG factors in investment analysis and decision-making, engagement, and voting at company shareholder meetings. This audience is comprised not only of ESG specialists but also portfolio managers and analysts who need to understand ESG and incorporate it into their analysis, thinking and decisions. But its professional relevance is not limited to investors. Given the growth of investor stewardship and activism, companies and their advisors also need to appreciate the investor’s perspective—as does the regulatory and standard-setting community.

The second audience is the educational market. The book can also be used as a lead or accompanying text in business school, academic or executive education programmes relating to finance, corporate governance, or sustainable investment.