ESG Risk Assessment
Successful investing is dependent upon the ability to determine the factors that influence the market's valuation of a company… and then judge the accuracy of that valuation. The goal of this course is to demonstrate how Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors can be used along with traditional financial metrics to assess risks and opportunities confronting firms. As such, this is a course in socially responsible investing taught from a finance perspective. The importance of “extra-financial” factors in evaluating the risks and opportunities confronting the firm is no longer a fringe area for finance professionals. In 2008 the Chartered Financial Analyst’s association introduced ESG into their curriculum. According to a Thomson Reuters survey released in May 2009, 84% of global buy-side investors said they evaluate ESG criteria to some degree when making investment decisions. Moreover, institutional investors are increasingly vocal in their demands that ESG risks be disclosed to the SEC. There are three themes to the course: Objectives of business (wealth maximization versus long term sustainability?), the pillars of socially responsible investing and the development of SRI funds.