This fund has above-average exposure to ESG risk relative to its peers in the US Fixed Income category, earning it the second-lowest Morningstar Sustainability Rating of 2 globes. Funds with 4 or 5 globes tend to hold securities that are less exposed to ESG risk. 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 potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that Columbia Corporate Income Fund doesn’t have an ESG-focused mandate. Funds with an ESG-focused mandate would have a higher probability to drive positive ESG outcomes. Currently, the fund has 19.2% involvement in fossil fuels, surpassing 12.8% 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 exhibits relatively high exposure (9.73%) to companies with high or severe controversies. Companies with controversies may be involved in incidents such as corruption, employee abuses, and environmental incidents that have a negative impact on stakeholders or the environment. 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.
Columbia Corporate Income Fund has a 12-month asset-weighted Carbon Risk Score of 10.8. 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. 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.