Industry Voice: UK equities are shining brighter for responsible and sustainable investors

clock • 5 min read
Industry Voice: UK equities are shining brighter for responsible and sustainable investors

UK equities overlooked

The UK has one of the longest standing histories in respect to responsible and sustainable investing, and the region has been a fruitful source of returns for ESG investors over the long-term.

The last few years, however, have been difficult for responsible and sustainable investors in UK equities. A combination of negative Brexit sentiment and the Coronavirus pandemic have weighed heavily on share prices and hampered investor confidence in the market. Although demand for ESG investing continues to grow more widely, the UK has been largely overlooked and under-allocated to as other regions have outperformed. 

Despite this, at EdenTree we remain committed responsible and sustainable investors in UK equities. We believe the UK has a unique opportunity to take a global leadership position as a market for ESG investors, driven by some sustained industry trends and a more supportive macro-economic picture for UK equities as we continue into 2021.

Supportive environment for ESG investors

A key development is the enormous shift in attitudes towards ESG issues that we have seen over the last few years, putting the UK government and capital markets on a positive trajectory to embrace responsible and sustainable factors. For example we now have previously unseen commitments from the UK government to achieving environmental targets.

The pandemic has accelerated this trend in a number of ways. Firstly, it has brought social issues into much greater prominence, clearly highlighting the social inequities and injustice that exist within the current global financial and economic system.

Secondly, the wave of vast new fiscal stimulus packages to combat the pandemic slowdown in most major developed economies are noticeably targeting green technologies and infrastructure; this was apparent the UK's stimulus package which included plans to quadruple offshore wind power, boost hydrogen production, invest in carbon capture technologies and make London the capital of green finance.

Finally, we are seeing strong support from financial institutions and industry bodies to make positive change. For example, Andrew Bailey, the Governor of The Bank of England, has spoken out on the important role that capital markets have to play in achieving the transition to a resilient, carbon-neutral economy.

This is leading us on an irreversible trend towards an increased responsible and sustainable opportunity set for UK equity investors. Combine this with the supportive macro-economic backdrop; low interest rates and low inflation driven by ongoing monetary and fiscal policy, and the hopes of the UK economy re-opening as the vaccine roll-out continues, and the result could be a compelling recovery story for ESG investors in UK equities.

EdenTree's Responsible & sustainable approach

This being the case, fund buyers who want to capitalise on this need an investment manager with a deep expertise of both the UK and the responsible and sustainable investment landscape. EdenTree brought one of the first ‘ethical' UK equity funds to market over 33 years ago, so we are firmly embedded in the fabric of responsible and sustainable investing within the UK.

EdenTree's Responsible & Sustainable UK Equity Fund and Responsible & Sustainable UK Equity Opportunities Fund provide investors a more complete allocation to UK equities as a whole, which should deliver regardless of market environment.

At the heart of our approach we are responsible and sustainable, bottom-up stock-pickers who look for quality growth and earnings quality across all the companies that we invest in. This ‘quality' is attributed to companies that are market leaders in their field with defendable market share, attractive profit margins and solid cash flows - growth and returns on capital can only be predicated on these key attributes.

The EdenTree Responsible and Sustainable UK Equity Fund focusses on investing in companies that are resilient across all types of economic climate, and exhibit strong fundamentals. Looking for these opportunities primarily across the large and mid-cap spectrum, such an approach has proven over the long-term to result in significant outperformance, and offer more protection through challenging market conditions.

The EdenTree Responsible & Sustainable UK Equity Opportunities Fund puts growth at the heart of its strategy. The team take a highly analytical and hands on approach to stockpicking, aimed at reducing risk and enhancing returns. Key to outperformance and adding alpha is the funds focus on the mid and small-cap.

Both funds are also managed in accordance with our responsible and sustainable approach. We fully integrate ESG risk factors across our investment process in order to deliver superior returns and add value for clients. This integrated approach covers four key areas: screening, engagement, governance and thought leadership research, for a truly active responsible and sustainable approach.

Stars aligning for ESG investors in UK equities

Responsible and sustainable investors in UK equities are now faced with a potentially compelling investment opportunity, provided they are willing to look through the noise and short-term uncertainty.

ESG investors must focus on how the UK is positioned for longer-term future growth, combined with the fact that the region provides a rich seem of companies that are ESG leaders, across sectors such as Healthcare, Industrials, Materials and Technology; providing us as responsible and sustainable investors with plenty of stock-picking opportunity.

Click here to learn more.

Disclaimer:

The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise as a result of market and currency fluctuations, you may not get back the amount originally invested. Past performance should not be seen as a guide to future performance. If you are unsure which investment is most suited for you, the advice of a qualified financial adviser should be sought. EdenTree Investment Management Limited (EdenTree) Reg. No. 2519319. Registered in England at Benefact House, 2000, Pioneer Avenue, Gloucester Business Park, Brockworth, Gloucester, GL3 4AW, United Kingdom. EdenTree is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is a member of the Investment Association. Firm Reference Number 527473.

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