This fund has relatively low exposure to ESG risk compared with its peers in the US Equity Mid Cap 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.
One key area of strength for VY® Baron Growth Portfolio is its low Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Risk Score of 7.80 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. No companies held by VY® Baron Growth Portfolio are recognized as being involved in controversies at a high or severe level. From bribery and corruption to workplace discrimination and environmental incidents, controversies are incidents that have a negative impact on stakeholders or the environment, which create some degree of financial risk for the company. Severe and high controversies can have significant financial repercussions, ranging from legal penalties to consumer boycotts. In addition, they can damage the reputation of both companies themselves and their shareholders.
One potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that VY® Baron Growth Portfolio doesn’t have an ESG-focused mandate. A fund with an ESG-focused mandate would have a higher probability to drive positive ESG outcomes.