No Small Change: Pension Funds and Corporate Engagement
In No Small Change, Tessa Hebb examines the ability of pension funds, now the largest single driver of financial markets around the world, to use their ownership position to change corporate practices for the sake of the bottom line and, perhaps, change the world for the better in the process.
Pension funds are not the new moral conscience of the twenty-first century, but they are significant owners of today's corporations. Because pension funds have to pay out benefits over many decades, they are increasingly concerned about the long-term value of the stocks they hold in their portfolios. Risks posed by climate change can have a huge impact on future returns. To lower the risks associated with an uncertain future, pension funds are engaging corporations and using their influence to raise the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards of companies.
At its best, Hebb finds, corporate engagement offers a long-term view of value that both promotes higher ESG standards and adds share value, thus providing long-term benefits to future pension beneficiaries. At its worst it may divert the attention of pension fund officials from their primary responsibility of ensuring the retirement benefits of their members. This book weighs the influence of corporate engagement on firms in an effort to see how the potential from this newly emerging force is being realized.