partner content

Putting ESG allocations at the heart of future-proof portfolios

In a new normal of volatile, unpredictable and rapidly changing economies and markets, many investors are grappling with maintaining momentum in their environmental, social and governance (ESG) journey. But beyond short-term asset re-pricing, balancing returns while integrating sustainability objectives should be at the core of portfolios, said speakers at “ESG: from niche to norm”, an event hosted by Natixis Investment Managers and AsianInvestor.
Putting ESG allocations at the heart of future-proof portfolios

It is no surprise to have seen a slowdown in the pace of flows to ESG funds during 2022. Ongoing concerns globally about energy and food prices sit against the backdrop of supply chain disruption amid persistent inflation, rising rates, war in Ukraine and geopolitical tensions.

Yet this short-term focus on ESG investment appetite misses the point: sustainability is here to stay.

As a result, investors across the region – from the largest institutions to family offices to high net worth individuals – need to define and deliver sustainability in their portfolios. They need to engage companies to steer them in the right direction and, collectively, encourage regulators and other stakeholders to implement common standards and disclosure norms to help bridge gaps in information, transparency and reporting.

This is easier said than done given that ESG applies differently to every region, sector and market. Instead, it underscores the need for investors to continuously assess, analyse and update their data sources as they develop their ESG investment strategies. In reality, the main challenge many investors face is trying to translate the broad array of ESG metrics into an estimate of a company’s profitability and valuation.

Ultimately, investors need to incorporate ESG-focused investments into their asset allocations with a view to making a difference, both in the world around them and to their risk-adjusted returns.

Such a roadmap to an entrenched ESG culture is now essential in implementing ESG consistently and effectively within portfolios.

This is according to specialists from the world of institutional investment, private wealth, asset management and consulting, speaking at “ESG: from niche to norm”, an event hosted by Natixis Investment Managers and AsianInvestor:

  • Wong De Rui, Vice President, Sustainability Office, GIC
  • Keisuke Kawasaki, Chief Investment Officer, Executive Director, Member of the Board, Nissay Asset Management Corporation
  • Jansen Phee, Head of Fund Investment Solutions, APAC & Head Global Investment Management, China, UBS
  • Emma Herd, Partner, Climate Change & Sustainability, EY
  • Philippe Setbon, Chief Executive Officer, Ostrum Asset Management
  • Philippe Zaouati, Chief Executive Officer, Mirova
  • David Waldman, Chief Investment Officer, Loomis, Sayles & Company

Read and watch some of the takeaways below - 




Reflecting ESG factors in mainstream investment decisions

Emma Herd, EY
“ESG activity in the form of assets under management and active engagement on behalf of these funds continue to grow strongly despite the market headwinds. We are also seeing growth in corporate engagement and active stewardship in Australia…. In general, ESG acts as a buffer to some of the short-term market volatility we have seen.”

Jansen Phee, UBS
“From a private wealth perspective, we're engaging with clients and providing educational materials to show them that we can help meet their investment objectives with ESG as part of the process.”

Keisuke Kawasaki, Nissay Asset Management Corporation
“The key issue to address [in Japan], is how can we label ESG and categorise it in a way that helps address caution among Japanese investors. They need to see returns that outperform the benchmark.”

Wong De Rui, GIC
“Sustainability and climate are complex topics. There's no silver bullet or panacea to try and address the issue. And we need to be quite multi-dimensional in addressing investments.”

Bridging the data and disclosure gaps

Philippe Zaouati, Mirova
“Europe is leading the way in terms of ESG-related regulations, although there is still diversity in how European investors are implementing these. But we have learned how to use various tools and taxonomies to move the ESG journey forward.”

Emma Herd, EY
“As an industry we are simultaneously building the plane, in terms of ESG standards, greater data and disclosure, while also flying the plane [in terms of investing in ESG funds].”

Philippe Setbon, Ostrum Asset Management
“My suggestion to regulators in Asia would be to create a less complex set of standards than we see in Europe. At the end of the day, regulations need to enhance efficiency.”


Wong De Rui, GIC
“[At GIC] we rely on an arsenal of analytical tools that quantify both the risks as well as opportunities…. We have developed a top-down scenario analysis process that is able to [estimate] the impact of climate change on our total portfolio.”


David Waldman, Loomis, Sayles & Company
“Investors should also be careful about setting specific metrics, as these might create an incentive for money managers to create an ESG product that isn’t necessarily aligned with a client’s sustainability values or objectives.”


More integrated approaches to ESG investing

Emma Herd, EY
“Integrating ESG considerations into investment strategies seems to be strong as an active approach… as almost a ‘hard wiring’” of ESG into decision making. Yet ESG can mean different things to different people, so we need to know what we are integrating.”

Jansen Phee, UBS
“It almost seems like we’re giving investors a choice: ‘do you want ESG or do you want non-ESG?’.... We just integrate ESG into the process we give our clients.… If you look at how we select funds, and how we market the funds, we don't have a separate process for ESG.”

Wong De Rui, GIC
“We believe that if you flatly divest from investments, they may end up in the hands of investors who may not care as much about sustainability issues or helping companies to transition.”

Keisuke Kawasaki, Nissay Asset Management Corporation
“More investors in Japan are taking their first steps in terms of ESG products, but there is still some scepticism.”

Taking ESG investing to the next level

Philippe Zaouati, Mirova
“The most important question for investors, is what is their [sustainability] conviction and objective? This is also the best way to avoid greenwashing.”


Philippe Setbon, Ostrum Asset Management
“Finance has a major role to play in the environmental transition given the vast amount of capital that is needed in the years and decades ahead, and it must step up to the plate. Financial performance is key and will be one of the success factors.”

David Waldman, Loomis, Sayles & Company
“There needs to be a lot of dialogue and transparency between investors and their external managers, to help investors along their ESG journey.”


This material has been provided for information purposes only. To obtain a summary of investor rights in the official language of your jurisdiction, please consult the legal documentation section of the website (

In Japan: Provided by Natixis Investment Managers Japan Co., Ltd. Registration No.: Director-General of the Kanto Local Financial Bureau (kinsho) No.425. Content of Business: The Company conducts investment management business, investment advisory and agency business and Type II Financial Instruments Business as a Financial Instruments Business Operator.
In Taiwan: Provided by Natixis Investment Managers Securities Investment Consulting (Taipei) Co., Ltd., a Securities Investment Consulting Enterprise regulated by the Financial Supervisory Commission of the R.O.C. Registered address: 34F., No. 68, Sec. 5, Zhongxiao East Road, Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 11065, Taiwan (R.O.C.), license number 2020 FSC SICE No. 025, Tel. +886 2 8789 2788.

In Singapore: Provided by Natixis Investment Managers Singapore Limited (NIM Singapore) having office at 5 Shenton Way, #22-05/06, UIC Building, Singapore 068808 (Company Registration No. 199801044D) to distributors and qualified investors for information purpose only. NIM Singapore is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore under a Capital Markets Services Licence to conduct fund management activities and is an exempt financial adviser. Mirova Division is part of NIM Singapore and is not a separate legal entity. Business Name Registration No. of Mirova: 53431077W.This advertisement or publication has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

In Hong Kong: Provided by Natixis Investment Managers Hong Kong Limited to professional investors for information purpose only.

In Australia: Provided by Natixis Investment Managers Australia Pty Limited (ABN 60 088 786 289) (AFSL No. 246830) and is intended for the general information of financial advisers and wholesale clients only. 

In New Zealand: This document is intended for the general information of New Zealand wholesale investors only and does not constitute financial advice. This is not a regulated offer for the purposes of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMCA) and is only available to New Zealand investors who have certified that they meet the requirements in the FMCA for wholesale investors. Natixis Investment Managers Australia Pty Limited is not a registered financial service provider in New Zealand.

The above referenced entities are business development units of Natixis Investment Managers, the holding company of a diverse line-up of specialised investment management and distribution entities worldwide. The investment management subsidiaries of Natixis Investment Managers conduct any regulated activities only in and from the jurisdictions in which they are licensed or authorized. Their services and the products they manage are not available to all investors in all jurisdictions. It is the responsibility of each investment service provider to ensure that the offering or sale of fund shares or third party investment services to its clients complies with the relevant national law.

The provision of this material and/or reference to specific securities, sectors, or markets within this material does not constitute investment advice, or a recommendation or an offer to buy or to sell any security, or an offer of any regulated financial activity. Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks and expenses of any investment carefully before investing. The analyses, opinions, and certain of the investment themes and processes referenced herein represent the views of the portfolio manager(s) as of the date indicated. These, as well as the portfolio holdings and characteristics shown, are subject to change. There can be no assurance that developments will transpire as may be forecasted in this material. The analyses and opinions expressed by external third parties are independent and does not necessarily reflect those of Natixis Investment Managers. Past performance information presented is not indicative of future performance.

Although Natixis Investment Managers believes the information provided in this material to be reliable, including that from third party sources, it does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of such information. This material may not be distributed, published, or reproduced, in whole or in part.
All amounts shown are expressed in USD unless otherwise indicated.

Natixis Investment Managers may decide to terminate its marketing arrangements for this product in accordance with the relevant legislation.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.