For additional information on ESG at AQR, visit aqr.com/esg
August 2, 2022
We examine the recent concerns about the reliability of the assessments of ESG ratings providers. We review the demand for ESG information, the stated objectives of ESG ratings providers, how ratings are determined, the evidence of what they achieve, and structural aspects of the industry that potentially influence ratings. We find that while ESG ratings providers may convey important insights into the nonfinancial impact of companies, significant shortcomings exist in their objectives, methodologies, and incentives which detract from the informativeness of their assessments.
June 9, 2022
AQR Managing and Founding Principal Cliff Asness sat down with Institutional Investor Editor-in-Chief Michael Corcoran to answer some of the key questions on ESG investing. The conversation covered how a quantitative manager can effectively engage with companies, how investors can use their portfolios to help address climate change, why shorting is an effective ESG tool, and more.
May 1, 2022
To manage climate risks, investors need reliable climate exposure metrics, but such risks may be difficult to measure, particularly along the supply chain. Using broadly accessible data, we propose an intuitive metric that quantifies the exposure a company has to customers and suppliers. Our metric is related to scope 3 emissions and captures the strength of economic linkages as well as the overall climate exposure of a firm’s customers and suppliers.
March 14, 2022
Increasingly many allocators are interested in computing their portfolio’s carbon footprint. We show that historical emissions data are useful despite a substantial 1-2 years’ lag typically to when investment portfolios are built.
February 23, 2022
Man Group recently wrote an op-ed titled “Short-selling does not count as a carbon offset.” Of course we agree it doesn’t. But the headline is quite misleading if taken to mean shorting has no role in the fight to reduce carbon emissions. Shorting does exactly what it’s supposed to do – raise the cost of capital to the emitters, even more so than divestment.
September 7, 2021
Interest in sustainable investing is now expanding into fixed income. This paper assesses how measures of sustainability/ESG might be relevant for corporate bonds and analyzes how ESG measures can be incorporated into an investment process to achieve the joint object of maximizing risk-adjusted returns and a sustainability target.
September 7, 2021
It would be an understatement to say there is confusion in the industry about the use of shorting in an ESG context. When it comes to calculating a portfolio’s ESG score, we have heard arguments ranging from "ignore the shorts” to “net them against longs,” and, my favorite as it’s creatively insane, “pretend the shorts are actually longs.” This note explains why it is critical that shorts be properly accounted for, so that investors can use shorting to reduce carbon exposure, to get to net zero or to achieve other ESG goals.
December 21, 2020
We discuss how an investment portfolio could dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, potentially even achieving a ‘net zero’ carbon footprint. We discuss the pros and cons of techniques to achieve carbon reduction goals, including security selection, shorting high carbon footprint companies, and trading instruments such as carbon offsets and carbon permits.
October 29, 2020
The paper reviews the literature studying interactions between climate change and financial markets, including various approaches to incorporating climate risk in macro-finance models as well as the empirical literature that explores the pricing of climate risks across several asset classes.
October 29, 2020
This the original data set used in “Responsible Investing: The ESG-Efficient Frontier” (Pedersen, Fitzgibbons and Pomorski). It contains the total returns of the value-weighted and equal-weighted portfolios used in the paper.