GES 25th anniversary announcement
As of 25 April 2017, GES is celebrating its 25-year anniversary and we want to thank all our clients for 25 fantastic years together on the path to responsible investing and ESG integration. GES started as a small consulting firm in 1992 when Magnus Furugård founded the company together with Susanne Nyman in Stockholm.
We joined the UN Global Compact in 2004 and the PRI in 2006 and have been actively involved in shaping the debate and course ever since. Today we have more than 60 employees based in five countries, servicing more than 100 clients worldwide, including the recent addition of our first ever Japanese client, with total assets under management in excess of €1.5 trillion.
When the concept of responsible investment originally developed, it was met with some scepticism and hesitation. While some investors were concerned about the terminology and labelling, most had questions as to whether responsible investing would be at the expense of investment return. Nowadays there is an overall agreement that taking a more responsible and long-term investment approach benefits everyone. Latest Eurosif studies show that engagement and voting grew by 30 per cent between 2013-2015, and PRI membership has grown by 465 signatories between 2014-2016 globally, all demonstrating an increasing relevance of stewardship and fiduciary duty.
It has as such been an incredibly exciting journey and Magnus reflects on the early days:
“Engagement grew partly out of investor frustrations of having bi-annual exclusion lists. Exclusions didn’t work for them as it meant investors couldn’t keep to benchmarks but would have to continuously re-compose portfolios. GES’ response was to offer a longer-term dialogue with companies; our clients were extremely positive towards this and we have been growing our collaborative engagement pool ever since!”
Hanna Roberts, CEO and part of GES since 2008 says:
“One of the biggest challenges for the industry is that many investors don’t know how to interpret and integrate ESG information. However, with engagement, investors immediately see the potential value of having constructive dialogues with investee companies about material ESG risks that can have real impacts on the bottom line. We continue to work with clients on defining the materiality scope – a current example is the water stewardship – and it is this partnership that builds both ours and clients’ extensive experience.”
Read more about Magnus’ experience and Hanna’s vision for GES in their upcoming blogs. Go to GES Blog to subscribe.
To highlight and take stock of ours and our clients’ experience of 25 years of responsible investing we are arranging several events in key European locations, starting with Copenhagen and Stockholm. Please note that we will of course also be present at RI Europe, Almedalen in Sweden and at the PRI in Berlin, so we hope to see you during the next several months.