Our ESG History: ‘The Nuns Were on to Something’

With a 20-year history in ESG investing, Dana was one of the earliest entrants in the space. It all started with the request of a group of nuns. In a recent conference call on ESG investing, Dana portfolio managers shared how it all began:

Duane Roberts: Our ESG story began at the tail end of 1999. We were working with a group of nuns who needed equity exposure. This was a group that had zero equity exposure in 1999. We got them comfortable with moving into equities, but they had some issues and some values constraints that they wanted to place on that portfolio. So, we started researching the effect of having that constraint on our portfolios at the end of 1999. And then in January, we started live with their portfolio.

We learned a lot from that. One of the things that stood out and really made us question kind of the valuation risk and opportunity in ESG is that in our early days we were actually noticing these portfolios on a risk-adjusted basis — and even allowing for many of the other common investment factors — were actually performing better. So we spent a lot of time thinking about why that might be, and that led to ESG integration across our portfolios.

It started in response to that client request and has grown since then. It’s evolved from not just being an approach to values-oriented portfolios, but to us applying ESG into our investment approach for all strategies.

To learn more about our history in ESG investing, and what makes our strategies different from a growing field of funds in the space, we invite you to listen to the full call.


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