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The Materials Select Sector SPDR® ETF XLB Sustainability

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Sustainability Analysis

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Sustainability Summary

Materials Select Sector SPDR ® Fund has a number of attributes that may meet the expectations of sustainability-focused investors, despite some issues worthy of attention.

This fund has relatively low exposure to ESG risk compared with its peers in the Natural Resources Sector Equity category, earning it the second highest Morningstar Sustainability Rating of 4 globes. ESG risk measures the degree to which material environmental, social, and governance issues, such as climate change, biodiversity, human capital, as well as bribery and corruption, could affect valuations. ESG risk differs from impact, which is about driving positive environmental and social outcomes for society’s benefit.

The fund's current involvement in fossil fuels rests at 9.1%, which compares favorably with 29.4% for its average category peer. Companies are considered involved in fossil fuels if they derive some revenue from thermal coal, oil, and gas.

One potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that Materials Select Sector SPDR® Fund doesn’t have an ESG-focused mandate. A fund with an ESG-focused mandate would have a higher probability to drive positive ESG outcomes.

Materials Select Sector SPDR® Fund has a 12-month asset-weighted Carbon Risk Score of 13.5. This is situated at the lower end of the medium carbon risk band, suggesting that its portfolio holdings are not among the worst-positioned to transition to a low-carbon economy, but they are not among the best-positioned either. Investors concerned about the transition risks may prefer to consider funds with negligible or low carbon risk. Funds with a lower carbon risk classification may be more favored by investors concerned about transition risks, as such funds often tilt toward companies that operate in sectors less exposed to the transition (for example, healthcare and IT) or companies in more carbon-intensive sectors (for example, materials and utilities) that consider climate change in their business strategy, and therefore are positively aligned with the transition. The fund has a modest level of exposure (6.45%) to companies with high or severe controversies. Companies with controversies are involved in incidents such as corruption, employee abuses, and that pose some degree of business risks to the company. Severe and high controversies can have significant financial repercussions, ranging from legal penalties to consumer boycotts. In addition, they controversies can damage the reputation of both companies themselves and their shareholders.

ESG Commitment Level Asset Manager