Ethical, sustainable and impact research

Greenbank specialises in creating bespoke portfolios for private clients, trusts and charities without restricting them to a ‘one size fits all’ solution that may not fully meet both their financial aims and their ethical, ESG or impact requirements.

Our in-house ethical, sustainable and impact research team plays a key role in supporting the provision of this service, underpinned by its proprietary database of company and issuer profiles. This covers companies in the FTSE 350 Index, as well as selected FTSE SmallCap Index, Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and overseas stocks, corporate bonds and unquoted impact (social enterprise and impact-first) investments.

Fundamental to our approach is our belief that those companies providing positive solutions for a changing world, while also demonstrating strong social and environmental management and good corporate governance, are likely to be sound long-term investments.

With this in mind, prior to any investment, our research team screens potential holdings to ensure that they meet a minimum threshold of ESG performance. Our team look in detail at both what a company does and how it operates as part of this process. Organisations are assessed against 30 top-level social and environmental criteria and over 300 distinct sub-criteria.

Beyond this initial assessment, portfolio construction is informed by the choices made by clients through our ethical questionnaire covering their specific ethical preferences or ESG policies.

We then apply a range of techniques to select appropriate investments:

1. Avoidance screening enables the avoidance of companies involved in activities that might specifically be of concern, such as armaments or tobacco, or companies implicated in breaches of human rights, child labour or environmental damage.

2. Positive selection will identify investments that are contributing to a sustainable society, for example companies involved in renewable energy technologies or social housing.

3. To broaden the range of eligible investments, clients also have the option to adopt a ‘best of sector’ approach. This identifies the leaders in major investment areas while still avoiding companies with poor environmental, social and ethical standards. Best of sector investing increases diversification, thereby lowering risk, and may be particularly appropriate for more cautious clients. This is also the approach we take for the management of ethically screened managed fund portfolios.