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Opportunities Building at Company-Investor Interface

(New York, 28 November 2006) - The Global Compact Office today released the final report of the recent Who Cares Wins conference, held on 27-28 September in Zurich at the Swiss Stock Exchange. More than 100 leading financiers and investment professionals gathered at the third-annual event, convened in partnership with the International Finance Corporation and the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs. The conference focused on the interface between investment analysts and corporations, with a number of senior executives of major companies in attendance.

Among the key insights and conclusions reflected in the report:

  • A new phase has begun with respect to companies and   investors dialoguing more actively on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues
  • Until now the communication has focused almost exclusively on the SRI community; going forward it will have to also serve the   needs of mainstream investors and be better integrated in normal investor   relations communications
  • While the communication at present is not very sophisticated, both sides are currently improving their approaches to ESG issues -- analysts are improving the quality of their research and models, while companies have projects under way to map ESG issues against value drivers and better tailor their communication to investor needs
  • Markets have not yet reached full efficiency in their assimilation of ESG issues. The space is therefore full of opportunities for entrepreneurial "early-movers" on both the company and investor sides

"We continue to move towards a tipping point with respect to ESG issues finding their way into mainstream capital and investment markets", said Gavin Power, head of financial markets initiatives at the UN Global Compact. "As this report reveals, there is now a significant opportunity for companies to communicate -- through disclosures such as the Global Compact's Communications on Progress -- the ways in which ESG implementation efforts link to value drivers. Meanwhile, analysts and fund managers are encouraged to dialogue more actively with companies on these issues in order to broaden their analysis and, hopefully, improve long-range investment returns".

Click here to access the full Who Cares Wins conference report.