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ESG commitment: Morningstar awards Calvert "Leader" status

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      By Anthony EamesDirector of Responsible Investment Strategy, Calvert Research and Management

      Washington - In 2020, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing gained further attention as climate disasters and the coronavirus highlighted some stark societal challenges. As ever-more asset managers launch funds with some type of ESG label, whether green, sustainable, impact or socially responsible, the choices and comparisons can be daunting.

      In an attempt to aid investors in evaluating the focus, context and scope of an asset manager's or fund's consideration of ESG factors, Morningstar released a new report in November, The Morningstar ESG Commitment Level. The report evaluated the ESG profiles of 40 asset managers and 145 funds, representing 107 individual strategies, spread across the globe. Calvert was one of only six asset managers awarded the top ESG "Leader" status by Morningstar. In addition, six Calvert funds were designated as leaders.

      Morningstar ESG commitment levels: Leader (highest) to Low (lowest)


      Morningstar's ESG commitment levels are a new qualitative measure, distinct from the Morningstar Analyst Rating. Morningstar's assigned ESG commitment levels are based on analysts' assessments of how fund firms and individual strategies incorporate ESG into their investment decisions. The score does not factor in expected performance.

      Asset manager ESG leaders and laggards

      Of the 40 asset managers Morningstar assessed, the six awarded "Leader" status include Calvert, Parnassus, Robeco, Impax and Stewart Investors. BlackRock, Pimco and UBS were among the 16 asset managers in the largest "Basic" category, indicating an average level of commitment. Among the group of 12 in the "Low" category were American Century, Fidelity Investments and Vanguard.

      Criteria Morningstar cited for receiving a Leader designation include:

      • ESG core to the firm's identity
      • Long histories committed to ESG investing
      • ESG considerations ingrained and pervasive across the firms — in their investment processes, strategies, voting records, and also in their own operations
      • Transparent and educative about their ESG efforts and thinking

      In terms of garnering the leadership accolade, Morningstar noted that "Calvert is a pioneer and best-in-class practitioner of ESG incorporation," having led advancements in the field since the mid-1980s, and "was one of the first signatories of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment in 2006." Morningstar also cited Calvert's robust research framework, dedicated team of 13 ESG research analysts and transparent record of voting in favor of ESG shareholder resolutions.

      Bottom line: We are proud of Morningstar's recognition of Calvert's unique ESG dedication and focus, and are committed to providing innovative strategies and working across global platforms to promote solutions to critical ESG issues.