This fund has above-average exposure to ESG risk relative to its peers in the Moderate Allocation 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 provides investors with a signal that reflects to what degree their investments are exposed to risks related to material ESG issues, such as climate change and inequalities, that are not sufficiently managed. ESG risk differs from impact, which is about seeking positive environmental and social outcomes.
One potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that Empower SecureFoundation® Balanced Fd doesn’t have an ESG-focused mandate. Funds with an ESG-focused mandate are more likely to align with the expectations of an investor who cares about sustainability issues.
The fund has an asset-weighted Carbon Risk Score of 9.14, indicating that its current equity and/or bond holdings have low exposure to carbon-related risks. These are risks associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy such as increased regulation, changing consumer preferences, technological advancements, and stranded assets. Currently, the fund has 7.02% involvement in fossil fuels, which compares favorably with 10.06% for its average category peer. Companies are considered involved in fossil fuels if they derive some revenue from thermal coal, oil, and gas.
The fund has a modest level of exposure (5.35%) to companies with high or severe controversies. Companies with high or severe controversies are involved in incidents such as corruption, employee abuses, environmental incidents, and corporate scandals that pose serious business risks to the company.