Sustainability hub

Sustainability spotlight  

Thinking Ahead Institute research and publications into the role of sustainability in the investment industry

“There are no side effects – just effects… [Side effects] are just a sign that the boundaries of our mental models are too narrow, our time horizons too short” - Professor John Sterman, Director of MIT System Dynamics Group.

Sustainability is becoming an ever-more-important theme for the investment industry – indeed, the ‘slow but unstoppable’ sustainability train has now left the station, and is picking up speed. Sustainability is a subject close to the heart of the Thinking Ahead Institute and we have worked on a number of related initiatives since our beginnings in 2015. Much of our work focuses on equipping investment organisations to have a holistic and actionable understanding of sustainable investing and how they create value for wider stakeholders such as society and the planet. We do this through providing easy to navigate tools and guidelines, enabling better alignment of mission and broadening the focus of measurement.


Beliefs to action   

Beliefs to action series with Investec and First state super
Nest and AXA IM beliefs to action series
Roger Podcast
A conversation with Lucy Thomas, Head of Investment Stewardship at TCorp and Leon Kamhi, Executive Director: Head of Responsibility at Hermes.A conversation with John Green, Co-CEO of Investec Asset Management and Liza McDonald, Head of Responsible Investment for First State Super.
A conversation with Diandra Soobiah, Head of Responsible Investment at Nest, and Matt Christensen, Global Head of Impact and Responsible Investment at AXA IM.
A conversation with Jaap van Dam, Principal Director of Investment Strategy at PGGM.
Purpose and value      
Culture - multi factor diversity Purpose and value webinar series overview

We hosted a webinar on 9 May 2019 which looked at purpose and value creation in the investment industry.Marisa Hall shares an overview of research into purpose and value creation in the investment industry.   
Sustainability summit   
Mike Berners-Lee sustainability summit
Tim Lenton - Sustainability summit
Roger Urwin speaking at the sustainability summit
Sustainability summit panel
Corporate stewardship in pursuit 
of the SDGs 
Professor Mike Berners-Lee

Climate Change
Tim Lenton

Sustainability beliefs
Roger Urwin 

Practitioner panel
Marisa Hall, Russell Picot, Catherine Flockhart and Aled Smith
Sustainability and investments  
David HoileAdam GillettRoger PodcastLong-horizon investing webinar
David Hoile, Global Head of Asset Research at Willis Towers Watson, talks about defining sustainability and how it compares to other aspects of investment.Adam Gillett, Head of Sustainable Investment for Willis Towers Watson, at the Institute’s Thinking Ahead Breakfast Seminar.Roger Urwin shares his views on how large investment institutions are dealing with the topic of sustainability.Dr Liang Yin and Marisa Hall discuss the benefits of long-horizon investing 
Climate change    
Podcast with Tim Hodgson
Day three Sustainability Confronting new realities
Climate change in a COVID-19 worldThe climb to the new view
Virtual seminar series

Research papers 
Climate beliefs cover
Climate actions start with beliefs 

Our planet’s life supporting system is the ultimate complex system that matters to every one of us. In addressing the challenge of climate change, investors are facing immense levels of uncertainty, compounded by a long time horizon. 
A set of strong investment beliefs acts as a long-term compass to guide investment decisions in such an environment.
Sustainability impact paper
Sustainability: understanding impact and value creation 
An investors guide to communicating value created

Featuring case studies from seven global investment organisations, this paper provides practical guidelines to help organisations define purpose and document beliefs; measure impact; and communicate the value created for stakeholders. 

 Connecting the dots

Connecting the dots: understanding purpose in the investment industry

Exploring the purpose of the investment industry and the agents within it, and how the industry’s value proposition to end savers can be developed and improved.

 Mission critical  
Mission critical: understanding value creation

We propose a vision of what the investment industry should be, and the duty it should take on, and call more stakeholders to the value creation boundary – in particular the planet, and ideally wider society too.

 Sustainability beliefs  

<>Sustainability beliefs: a new measurement tool

Aiming to help asset owners develop fully-rounded beliefs on sustainability, we include a survey to test benchmark the strength of their beliefs against peers to see if and where they can create an investment edge.

 Sustainability portfolio construction 
Sustainability portfolio construction

This paper focuses on sustainability risk management and portfolio construction, which are the parts investors tend to struggle to apply the most.
 Sustainability portfolio construction case studies 

Sustainability portfolio construction case studies

A series of case studies from the sustainability portfolio construction working group.