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Automated social media accounts commonly referred to as ‘bots’ are actively influencing the COVID-19 ‘anti-mask movement’ on Twitter. Many have strong political allegiances and artificially increase engagements on politicians’ tweets.
On July 8, Kekst CNC hosted a virtual ESG panel event to discuss the Impact of COVID-19 on ESG Priorities. We were joined by Rob Cameron, Global Head of Public Affairs at Nestlé and Tom Fekete, Head of Sustainable Investing for EMEA and Asia at BlackRock. We asked them to provide their reflections on the ESG findings from the Kekst CNC COVID-19 Tracker Edition 3 (15 June 2020) which summarised data from a representative sample of 6,000 people in six countries - the UK, US, Germany, Sweden, France and Japan about their environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities.
At our first Kekst CNC focus group, broadcast on Times Radio last week, we asked a group of uncommitted voters across England what they thought about “ESG”. Not surprisingly, few understood what the term meant. An acronym that businesses and investors use on a near-daily basis, focused around environmental, social and corporate governance practices, has no cut-through with the greater British public.
Today, most offices and many industrial facilities remain shuttered. Employees are scattered in a state of enforced refuge and we are all leaning heavily on technology for continuity-of-business. The onslaught of Coronavirus has upended the way we operate. It has asked tough questions of organisations large and small across the world and hard decisions are made on a daily basis often in response to quickly changing Government guidance.
Being in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic does not make corporate financial reporting any easier. However, while challenging, the situation has not yet led to any radical changes in how companies present quarterly reports, apart from one major aspect –financial guidance. JKL Kekst CNC has analysed quarterly financial reports from January-March 2020 that were published by the 50 largest listed companies in Sweden. We compiled the financial guidance and outlooks provided and evaluated how each company communicated the effects of COVID-19 on their results. From this analysis, there are lessons to learn for the upcoming reporting season.
Three months into the novel coronavirus crisis, it has become clear that ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) investing is not about to be placed on the backburner during the pandemic. In the first quarter of 2020, a net US$40.5 billion went into funds scoring high on ESG criteria while traditional mutual and exchange-traded funds saw net outflows. Indeed, 94% of sustainable indices outperformed their parent benchmarks in the first quarter 2020, according to a BlackRock study.