iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF is likely to concern sustainability-focused investors given certain substandard ESG attributes.
This fund has above-average exposure to ESG risk relative to its peers in the UK Equity Large Cap category, earning it the second-lowest Morningstar Sustainability Rating of 2 globes. Investors concerned about ESG risk may be better off with funds earning 4 or 5 globes, as they tend to hold securities less exposed to ESG risk. ESG risk measures the degree to which material environmental, social, and governance issues, such as climate change and inequalities, could affect valuations. ESG risk differs from impact, which is about driving positive environmental and social outcomes for society’s benefit.
One potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF doesn’t have an ESG-focused mandate. A fund with an ESG-focused mandate would have a higher probability to drive positive ESG outcomes. Currently, the fund has 23.50% involvement in fossil fuels, which is higher than 16.11% for the average peer in its category. Companies are considered involved in fossil fuels if they derive some revenue from thermal coal, oil, and gas. The fund has significant exposure (16.34%) to companies with high or severe controversies. Companies with high or severe controversies may be involved in incidents such as corruption, employee abuses, environmental incidents, and corporate scandals that pose serious business risks to the company.
iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF's Carbon Risk Score of 11.09 is at the lower end of the medium carbon risk band. This score represents the asset-weighted carbon risk score of the portfolio's equity or corporate bond holdings, averaged over the trailing 12 months. This suggests the fund’s current holdings are moderately positioned to transition to a low-carbon economy. Such funds invest in companies that tend to operate in sectors less exposed to the transition (such as healthcare and IT) and/or companies in more carbon-intensive sectors (such as industrials and utilities) but that consider climate change in their business strategy and products, and therefore are positively aligned with the transition.