This strategy has an above-average Morningstar Sustainability Rating of 4 globes, indicating that the ESG risk of holdings in its portfolio is relatively low compared with those of its peers in the US Equity Large Cap Growth category. ESG risk provides investors with a signal that reflects to what degree their investments are exposed to risks related to material ESG issues, including climate change, biodiversity, product safety, community relations, data privacy and security, bribery and corruption, and corporate governance, that are not sufficiently managed. ESG risk differs from impact, which is about seeking positive environmental and social outcomes.
One key area of strength for Biondo Focus Fund is its low Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Risk Score of 3.35 and very low fossil fuel exposure over the past 12 months, which earns it the Morningstar Low Carbon Designation. Thus, the companies held in the portfolio are in general alignment with the transition to a low-carbon economy.
One potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that Biondo Focus 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. The fund has significant exposure (18.39%) to companies with high or severe controversies. Companies with controversies may be involved in incidents such as corruption, employee abuses, environmental incidents, and corporate scandals 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. Such controversies can also damage the reputation of both companies themselves and their shareholders.