Buzzword? ESG is now the byword for sustainable investing

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SINGAPORE (July 27): In 2012, local palm oil producers Wilmar International and Golden Agri-Resources experienced first-hand, the importance of strong environmental, social and governance or ESG ratings. Norges Bank Investment Management, the asset management unit of the Norwegian central bank, sold all of its shares in both companies on concerns about the sustainability of their business models.

Since then, both companies have made significant changes to improve their ESG scores. Golden Agri, for instance, now maps its supply chain all the way to the mills, where its palm oil is processed.

Indeed, sustainability is no longer just a buzzword. These days, it is fuelling a multibillion-dollar industry. Companies are under pressure from customers and shareholders to adopt better ESG practices. The requirements range from...(click on link for full story on