In 2020, ESG asset management strategies netted a 42 percent increase, from $12 trillion in 2018 to $17.1 trillion by the beginning of the year. These figures come from the US SIF Foundation and the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.
ESG investing is a type of socially and environmentally responsible investing concerned with how a company positively impacts the planet, society, and its shareholders, as well as potential investment returns.
Other terms for ESG investing include impact investing, socially responsible investing, and sustainable investing. Learn about ESG stock screeners as you continue to read.
Table of Contents
- What Are ESG Stocks?
- What Are Stock Screeners?
- ESG Stock Screeners
- Why Should You Invest in ESG Stocks?
- High Return Rate
- Measurable Leadership Strength
- Reduced Portfolio Risk
- The 4 Best ESG Stock Screeners
- 1. Morningstar ESG Screener
- 2. Sustainalytics ESG Screening Solutions
- 3. Isometrix ESG Reporting
- 4. MSCI ESG Research
What Are ESG Stocks?
ESG stands for environmental, social, and (corporate) governance. ESG stocks are stocks provided by publicly traded companies that hold these values in high standing and seek to deliver results without compromising their ideals.
The environmental part of ESGs demonstrates how a company impacts the planet differently.
- Recycling and disposal practices
- “Green” technologies, infrastructure, products, and services.
- Climate change policies
- Carbon footprint
- Waste disposal policies
- Water usage and conservation
- Renewable energy utilization
- Greenhouse gas emissions
There might be more environmental criteria like employee incentives promoting bicycles, public transport, and carpooling.
It could also examine what kind of relationship the company has with the Environmental Protection Agency or other environmental organizations, both public and private.
The social part of ESG showcases what kinds of social issues consumers, customers, employees, and local communities might face.
How well a company scores on social factors depends on how a company handles these issues and how those policies affect these various groups.
The social components of a company’s culture include various social issues.
- Public stance on social justice issues
- Lobbying efforts towards social justice issues
- Employee satisfaction and compensation
- Inclusive, diverse hiring practices
- Consumer protections (regulatory penalties, lawsuits, recalls, etc.)
- Employee development and training standards
- Employee turnover rates
- Ethical supply sourcing
- Community engagement
- Sexual harrasment prevention
The governance portion of ESG stocks deals with the quality of corporate leadership, ethical considerations, and the board of directors’ independence. Some of the topics under the governance umbrella include:
- Quality of relationship with the US Securities Exchange (or other regulatory bodies)
- Presence of ethical business policies and how they enforce them
- The separation between CEO and Chairman roles
- Structure of board vote decisions
- Prevalence of shareholder lawsuits
- Transparency with shareholders
- Term limits among board members
- Conflict of interest potential
- Executive compensation rates
- Diversity on the management team and board of directors
- Shareholder involvement in board nominations
Evaluating the ESG performance of any given corporation can be a complicated process, as the criteria listed above vary based on how you track a company’s ESG performance.
Companies regularly practice in-house corporate reporting and publish ESG goals and their progress in achieving them.
Any corporate reporting should follow the ESG standards set by the Global Reporting Initiative. Alternatively, you could use the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment as a rubric.
ESG stock screeners are another valuable tool for ethical investors who want to see a profit while making a positive difference in the world around them.
What Are Stock Screeners?
Using a stock screener allows investors to sort through a massive amount of stocks and exchange-traded funds (EFTs) catered to their specific criteria.
They are ideal for finding eligible ESG stocks because they let you browse curated stocks based on your idea of what makes an asset valuable. ESG stock screeners can help you better recognize trading opportunities as a short-term trader.
With a stock screener, you can narrow down your financial investment search by selecting your parameters and defining your unique requirements.
Investors of all stripes use stock screeners for different ends. For example, technical traders might be more interested in the Relative Strength Index (RSI) than ESG reporting. On the other hand, a fundamental investor might be more concerned with analyst recommendations or Earnings Per Share (EPS).
Stock screeners generally offer tools for all investors, and anyone interested in tailoring their stock portfolio should use this financial tool to their benefit.
Before you try and find the best stock screener for you, it’s essential to pin down exactly what sort of investor you want to be. If ethical investing is a priority for you, then you need to find a suitable ESG screener.
ESG Stock Screeners
While industrious investors might enjoy spending hours pouring through stock data to find the right stocks for them, there is no denying the time and effort that goes into this sort of work.
Socially responsible investing might ease your conscience, but without the right tools, it can eat into your schedule. ESG screening allows you to quickly assess a company’s views on social and environmental issues.
It also helps you gauge their commitment to implementing ESG policies in their business.
They can provide a priceless peek into what factors might make them incompatible, like potential health risks, bad labor practices, carbon footprint, or consumer safety concerns. Every individual ESG stock screener will have a different definition of what constitutes socially and environmentally responsible corporate behavior.
As the demand for ESG investment options grows, more and more companies offer various tools, like ESG stock screeners, to help pinpoint the perfect investment strategy.
Why Should You Invest in ESG Stocks?
The ideal ESG investors want to support ethical, responsible corporations and see healthy financial returns. If that’s not enough incentive for you, several other benefits come along with buying and selling ESG stocks.
High Return Rate
Research shows that ESG stocks can generate the same or better financial results as their non-ESG counterparts. What’s more, companies that practice good ESG standards consistently outperform those that do not.
Those companies that exhibit numerous nonfinancial quality indicators tend to perform better on the market than those evaluated with accounting-based metrics.
It’s much more likely that you will net a higher profit with ESG stocks than without.
Measurable Leadership Strength
There is no clear-cut answer as to why ESG companies perform better than their non-ESG peers, but there are a few theories.
One of those theories posits that a company cannot succeed as an ESG corporation without exemplary leadership.
Your typical ESG initiative is a long-term process, and without capable leadership that can foresee long-term outcomes, ESG friendly strategies simply don’t work. This makes EST standards doubly important as a metric of success and investment possibility.
Reduced Portfolio Risk
Understanding the basics of ESG stocks, it shouldn’t surprise you that the stock prices of ESG companies tend to be less volatile. This is because social, environmental, and governance issues will always pose risks to profits, no matter what industry you invest in.
Companies with ESG-centric cultures avoid many of the issues that stem from unethical governance, social and environmental policy. This mitigates risks for investors and shareholders in the process.
Corporations that actively work to address and avoid those risks will see less disruption and are sure to experience stabler financial results over time. In this way, ESG investing offers a lower downside risk when compared to traditional funds, no matter the asset class.
During turbulent economic periods, traditional stocks will experience much larger downside deviation than ESG stocks, opening up a much larger potential for loss when the market gets shaken up.
Even during the COVID 19 pandemic, many ESG funds outperformed comparable funds throughout the first quarter of 2020.
Though the world continues to recover from the global impact of the pandemic, the rate of ESG adoption by investors has stayed near its peak 2020 levels.
In a world that has continued to see-saw in an uneven recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, ESG adoption by global institutional investors this year has remained close to its peak level of last year, according to the 2021 RBC Global Asset Management Responsible Investment Survey.
The 4 Best ESG Stock Screeners
Though it can be a daunting task to find the right ESG screener for you, we’ve provided a handy list of the best ones available in 2021.
While this list is a great starting point for any potential ESG investors, it’s essential to supplement it with your own research as well.
Read on to learn more about the best ESG stock screeners on the market so you can decide where to start your ESG journey.
Morningstar Inc. is a financial service firm based in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 1984 to provide a long list of investment management and research services to the general public.
Morningstar Inc. has operations in 29 countries. Their financial recommendations and research continue to be the most influential in the asset management industry.
A positive recommendation from Morningstar’s analysts can make or break the financial future of any given fund. Beyond their ESG screening services, Morningstar Inc. provides data platforms and software options for a wide range of investors.
The company’s ESG screening is done in four simple steps, using proven identification strategies to demonstrate whether an ESG fund is a good investment for you.
You can learn where companies rank in Morningstar’s globe rating system, which ranks funds according to their sustainability focus.
With Morningstar’s ESG screener, you can search for stocks based on your ESG preferences and define your search with laser-focused intention.
If you’re still trying to find your ideological footing, Morningstar’s Low Carbon Designation and Sustainability Rating is a great place to begin.
In April of 2020, Sustainalytics, a global leader in ESG research and ratings, was acquired by Morningstar Inc. The two companies first teamed up as early as 2016, and since the merger, Sustainalytics has continued to provide ESG services to investors and companies.
When you choose Sustainalytics, you choose 25 years of industry experience in providing ESG tailored solutions that enable you to understand and manage your ethically responsible portfolio.
Sustainalytics ESG screening solutions provide you with a host of ESG tools to ensure your investment portfolio complies with whatever ethical parameters you decide on as well as regulatory requirements.
These tools include controversies research and screening, norms-based screening, defense research, sustainable products screening, and a human rights radar.
Sustainalytics also provides an optional managed screening service. This includes a comprehensive screening service based on their pre-selected criteria.
IsoMetrix is a global leader in software solution development designed for integrated risk management.
Isometrix aims to help its customers invest in sustainable, ethical companies that do the most good and still turn considerable profits.
The company seeks to offer a complete solution for ESG management. Their intuitive system combines different features of Environmental, Health, and Safety software, along with Environmental Sustainability software and Social Sustainability software.
With Isometrix ESG reporting, you can collect diverse data from multiple sources, proactively manage business risk, and report on ESG standards.
This integrated approach saves priceless amounts of time and effort and makes standardizing ESG information a breeze.
With Isometrix, you can effectively analyze ESG data across different business units and spot hidden trends early on.
MSCI stands for Morgan Stanley Capital International, and their ESG research division includes support tools and services for investors worldwide.
With Morgan Stanley’s 5 decades of experience in data, research, and technology, you can feel secure making investment decisions by analyzing risk factors and investment returns.
MSCI ESG Research provides exceptional transparency in financial markets that allow you to make profitable, responsible investment decisions that make the world a better place.
It measures model ESG risk factors and performance while providing value for clients and offering up thorough coverage of global data and financial analytics.
Stay on top of evolving markets all while keeping abreast of the most up-to-date ESG data and standards for ethically minded investors.
The MSCI ESG rating measures how well a company can perform in the face of long-term ESG risks. It uses rules-based methods to pinpoint the best and worst ESG stocks on the market.
In addition to their ESG ratings, MSCI also rates fixed income securities, mutual funds, equity, and ETFs.
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