Morningstar Magazine - April/May 2018 - 59

put an investment in it. But some of the products
are going to look different.

SDGs for ESG
The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals weren't
developed specifically with investors in mind. Is this the
only framework we have that we can embrace
right now? Should investors focus on something maybe
a little more prosaic?

public sector not bringing the investment
community the opportunities. The will
is there, I think, in the investment community,
but that's a gap that needs to be filled.
At a more prosaic and technical level, there
are 169 business indicators for measuring progress
to achieve the SDGs. When I think about
SDGs, as you were saying earlier, it's like trying
to create positive externalities. The impact
measure, the unit of analysis is the community,

or the world. [But] most of those business
indicators are basically outcomes or outputs from
companies, where the company, not the
world, is the unit of analysis. Until we can
get impact measures where it's about a positive
or negative externality that's being created
in the world, it's very hard for companies to say
how they're contributing to the SDGs and
for investors to know how they're contributing
to the SDGs through the investments that
they're making.

Snider: They're not a panacea for investors.
There's still a huge amount of work to be done
to define what is actually investable within
them, and to define how you would measure
whether a number of disaggregated investments
can be aggregated to prove that you're
actually addressing any one of the 17 goals.

But while they weren't formed for investors per se,
they were formed by the corporate sector. That's
different than something that comes
solely out of the policy realm or the realm of
academia. Investors are investing in the companies
that formed these SDGs.
People like clarity and they like concrete,
tangible goals. These are insanely complex,
multidecade, generational problems to solve, some
of which have been around for many years or
many hundreds of years, maybe. But I think the
SDGs anchor people. You can align them
with your specialty, as a corporation or investor,
and create solutions and direct capital to
them. That's the difference between the SDGs and
any other framework we have right now.
Eccles: That was the glass-is-half-full view.
Let me give the glass-is-half-empty view.
The narrative around the SDGs is that companies
are going to now see there are all these
great opportunities to make money by doing good
things for the planet. There's much less
discussion about the SDGs in the corporate
community. There's not nearly the same awareness and excitement. Unless companies are
making strategies around the opportunities that
they see in the SDGs for which they need
capital, what are the investors going to do with
all this money they have? The companies
need to find the opportunities; we talked about the

What investor doesn't like more information
to make an investment decision?
Anna Snider

global.morningstar.com/Morningstarmagazine

59


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Morningstar Magazine - April/May 2018

Contents
Morningstar Magazine - April/May 2018 - Cover1
Morningstar Magazine - April/May 2018 - Cover2
Morningstar Magazine - April/May 2018 - 1
Morningstar Magazine - April/May 2018 - 2
Morningstar Magazine - April/May 2018 - Contents
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