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 Global Equity Large Cap category. ESG risk measures the degree to which material environmental, social, and governance issues, such as climate change and inequalities, 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 William Blair International Growth Fund is its low Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Risk Score of 8.21 and low fossil fuel exposure of 6.76% 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. The fund exhibits negligible exposure (1.73%) to companies with high or severe controversies. From bribery and corruption to workplace discrimination and environmental incidents, controversies can have significant financial repercussions, ranging from legal penalties to consumer boycotts. In addition, controversies can damage the reputation of both companies themselves and their shareholders.
One potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that William Blair International Growth Fund 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.