One of the late Kofi Annan’s legacies, largely overlooked in the tributes marking his recent passing, is sustainable investing. As United Nations Secretary General, Annan launched the U.N. Global Compact in 2000, a voluntary corporate citizenship initiative based on a set of human rights, labor, environmental, and anticorruption principles. Its objective was to get companies to operate more sustainably and with a greater sense of corporate responsibility. Today, more than 7,000 companies are Global Compact signatories.
A few years later, in 2004, Annan led a Global Compact initiative to encourage the integration of environmental, social and corporate governance factors into capital markets. The resulting report, "Who Cares Wins," laid out the thesis for sustainable investing: