What is sustainable investing and is it different than ESG? This was the main question I wanted to ask Veronica Zhang, Analyst and Deputy Portfolio Manager at VanEck. There are many terms and themes related to what we know today as ESG investing that have actually evolved over decades. What has been clear in recent years is that there is a greater awareness of the need for a better, more sustainable approach, to living, to business and to investing. Is this new level of awareness being driven by demographics or necessity?
A World in Transition
In speaking with Veronica, one thing that stood out to me is that our world is in transition. How we source power or even feed ourselves is being transformed. Some transitions are being forced by consumers/shareholders. Engine No. 1's success in winning Exxon board seats is one example that comes to mind. In some cases transitions may be borne out of necessity, like having to deal with rolling power blackouts in California, and now Texas, that may spur demand for battery storage solutions.
Similarly, in agriculture, products produced by the likes of Beyond Meat, may not just be fads of the health conscious. There's a ton of activity in developing alternative proteins that are less intensive to produce and less damaging to land and water resources. The usable resources of which are in decline, while the global population rises.
Veronica speaks to all of this and provides her thoughts about the most compelling sustainable investing trends she sees for investors today.