How to handle ESG pushback

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at 1:00 PM (ET)

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In many ways, we are in the golden age of ESG: regulators are cracking down, standards are being set and awareness is high. But over the past year, we’ve also seen poor returns for ESG strategies relative to their benchmarks, greenwashing revelations, institutions divesting from ESG strategies and companies reneging on ambitious sustainability claims. How should advisors view this pushback against ESG? How should they address concerns from clients? How should they adjust their due diligence to accommodate today’s ESG environment? And how can they craft portfolios to meet evolving client expectations?

In this virtual roundtable that aired live on Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at 1:00 pm ET, hosted by and Investment Executive, advisors will come away with an understanding of how to be attuned to greenwashing, how to critically evaluate ESG and how to respond to client questions about the merits and risks of ESG analysis.

Moderated by:

Mary Robinson, Director, Research & Investor Networks, Responsible Investment Association

Presented by:

Deborah Debas, Senior Responsible Investment Specialist, Desjardins
Philippe Lavigne, Chief Analyst, Responsible Investment, National Bank Investments
Jenifer Rush, Head of Responsible Investing & Manager Research, SLGI Asset Management Inc.

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Please note that CE accreditation for this webinar is pending approval. CE accreditation is powered by CE Corner.

For those who missed the live webinar on Tuesday, May 9, 2023 at 1:00 pm ET, the recording is also available on CE Corner.

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About the moderator

Mary Robinson (She/Her) is Director, Research & Investor Networks with the RIA. In this role, Mary promotes awareness of responsible investment in Canada through research and analysis, advocates for policies that support responsible investment, and facilitates collaboration among the RIA’s membership. Mary is a CFA® charterholder with more than 20 years of experience working with institutional investors, including pension funds, endowments and foundations, in consulting and relationship management roles. Mary believes that incorporating ESG factors in investment decision-making is consistent with the goal of achieving positive financial outcomes for the long term. She is keen to advance the understanding of RI among Canadian investors and to help the industry move towards full adoption of RI.

About the speakers

Deborah Debas is a Senior Responsible Investment (RI) Specialist at Desjardins. Her primary role is to provide advisors with a strategic understanding of the benefits of ESG integration and responsible investing. Deborah is a frequent speaker at industry events organized by the Responsible Investment Association, TMX and the Globe & Mail. She is regularly quoted in the media about current and emerging industry trends and the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues facing companies and our industry. Deborah was part of the team that launched Desjardins’ RI portfolio in 2009. She helped thousands of advisors strengthen their practices with this growing area of investment, and better serve their clients’ financial needs with the latest knowledge, tools, and resources.

Philippe is a Chief Analyst, Responsible Investment at National Bank Investments (NBI). In his role, he oversees the climate strategy and ESG integration of NBI’s portfolio sub-advisors. Philippe has worked for 20 years at a large Canadian bank as a specialist in global fixed income. He then transitioned to a role focusing on responsible investment within portfolio management before joining NBI in 2022. Philippe holds a master’s degree in finance, has the CFA title, and completed the Sustainable Investment Professional Certification (SIPC).

In her role as Head of Responsible Investing and Manager Research, Jenifer is responsible for enhancing our multi-manager capabilities and accelerating our focus on responsible investing. Prior to joining Sun Life Global Investments in 2022, Jenifer was AVP, Head of Global Manager Research, Canada, at a leading wealth management firm. In her previous role, Jenifer played a key role in augmenting the focus on ESG for Managers on the platform. She brings with her over 25 years of industry experience across manager research and portfolio management. Jenifer holds an MBA from Queen’s University as well as the CFA and CAIA designations. Outside of work, she shares her experience by teaching courses in portfolio management at her alma mater.