May 27, 2020 | By: AGF

Spotlight on Sustainable Returns

5 min read

No trade-off between value versus values

The market turmoil caused by the COVID-19 crisis in recent months has reaffirmed the importance of a sustainable investing approach. With the recent crisis, sustainable strategies have “weathered the storm”, adding value to investor’s portfolios and demonstrating protection from risk.

Research is showing that within the turmoil, companies focused on ESG issues or climate change outperformed and can act as a defensive characteristic in times of crisis*, in addition to their ability to generate outperformance in growing markets*.

A focus on good stewardship and sustainable investing practices may help investors mitigate the risks associated with severe market downturns, as well as find opportunities in more bullish environments. In fact, effective research, analysis and evaluation of ESG issues may enhance the value and performance of an investment over the medium and longer-term.

Investors are increasingly seeking ways to meet their financial goals while contributing to positive environmental, social and governance outcomes. Once considered a “niche” investment, sustainability has gone mainstream and hasn’t resulted in a trade-off between value versus values.

Indexed Sustainable Ex-U.S Equity Fund Performance
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Source: Morningstar Inc. as of April 13, 2020.

Why AGF’s Sustainable Investment Platform

AGF considers environmental, social and governance issues in all of its strategies and offers a suite of solutions aimed at achieving different sustainable outcomes for investors ranging from ESG factor-based approaches to thematic impact strategies.

QBTL - AGG Global SUstainable Strategy Spotlight

AGF Global Sustainable Growth Equity Strategy

An active, fundamental approach to sustainable returns

Sustainability isn’t just about exclusion or managing the risk of climate change in portfolios. The AGF Global Sustainable Growthy Equity Strategy invests in four sustainable themes, identifying innovative companies within each theme: Health and Well Being, Water and Wastewater Solutions, Waste Management and Pollution Control and Energy & Power Technologies.

The strategy offers one of the longest track records in sustainable investing (launched in 1991) and invests in global equity securities with a primary focus on providing investors long-term capital appreciation within the four themes. It has demonstrated persistent outperformance over its long-term history and can be a source of alpha when used in a portfolio.

Here is how the themes have performed during recent market conditions, leading to the lowest point in the markets to March 19, 2020:

Sustainable Themes versus Rest of the Market
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Source: Bloomberg & AGF Investments as of March 19, 2020.

Learn more about the AGF Global Sustainable Growth Equity Fund

Explore a quantitative approach to sustainable returns with AGFiQ’s Global ESG Factors Fund

At AGF, we believe that sound, forward-thinking practices related to environmental, social and governance factors allow us to continue to evolve and thrive as a global asset manager. Our commitment to sustainable investing is reflected in our participation in developing standards and best practices within our industry. In fact, we’ve been participating in this conversation since 1989, when we became a founding member of the Responsible Investment Association.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

The commentaries contained herein are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of May 19, 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The content intends to provide you with general information and is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual. We strongly recommend you consult with a financial advisor prior to making any investment decisions.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed; their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated.

Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise. Investments denominated in foreign currencies are subject to fluctuations in exchange rates, which may have an adverse effect on the value of the investments, sale proceeds, and on dividend or interest income. Investors may not necessarily recoup the full value of their original investment. Investors should be aware that forward looking statements and forecasts may not be realised.

©2020 Morningstar. All Rights Reserved. The information, data, analyses and opinions contained herein (1) include the confidential and proprietary information of Morningstar, (2) may include, or be derived from, account information provided by your financial advisor which cannot be verified by Morningstar, (3) may not be copied or redistributed, (4) do not constitute investment advice offered by Morningstar, (5) are provided solely for informational purposes and therefore are not an offer to buy or sell a security, and (6) are not warranted to be correct, complete or accurate. Except as otherwise required by law, Morningstar shall not be responsible for any trading decisions, damages or other losses resulting from, or related to, this information, data, analyses or opinions or their use. This report is supplemental sales literature. If applicable it must be preceded or accompanied by a prospectus, or equivalent, and disclosure statement.


AGF Management Limited (“AGF”), a Canadian reporting issuer, is an independent firm composed of wholly owned globally diverse asset management firms. AGF’s investment management subsidiaries include AGF Investments Inc. (“AGFI”), AGF Investments America Inc. (“AGFA”), Highstreet Asset Management Inc. (“Highstreet”), AGF Investments LLC (formerly FFCM LLC) (“AGFUS”), AGF International Advisors Company Limited (“AGFIA”), AGF Asset Management (Asia) Limited (“AGF AM Asia”), Doherty & Associates Ltd. (“Doherty”) and Cypress Capital Management Ltd. (“CCM”). AGFI, Highstreet, Doherty and Cypress are registered as portfolio managers across various Canadian securities commissions, in addition to other Canadian registrations. AGFA and AGFUS are U.S. registered investment advisers. AGFIA is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. AGF AM Asia is registered as a portfolio manager in Singapore

Publication date: May 19, 2020

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