“Positive change benefits corporate culture, investor outcomes, and the world at large.”
Linda C. Giuliano
Founder & CEO
Who We Are
Our goal is to create a “brighter world” by partnering with asset managers, investors and other stakeholders to integrate principles of environmental stewardship, social, and corporate governance (ESG) into strategy, processes, and policies.
What Is ESG?
ESG is the management of Environmental, Social and Governance elements that are relevant to an entity. While governance issues are generally universal, the importance of environmental and social issues will vary based on industry. How well an entity manages the ESG factors that are material to its business may contribute to its success in mitigating risk and capitalizing on opportunity. Communicating their approach and relevant data may improve their competitiveness, and their ability to attract talent and customers.
Asset owners increasingly expect asset managers to explicitly account for ESG factors in the investment process. Some investors seek strategies with ESG-specific goals. To help you decipher the differences, see our Guide to ESG by clicking on the read more link below. BrightWorld ESG is available to help you determine which ESG approach is right for your organization.
Not too many years ago, there was little discussion on explicitly incorporating ESG considerations in the investment process, but now it has become an imperative for asset managers.
Global assets under management in responsible investments reached $30.7 trillion as of year-end 2018 (the last year for which global data is available from GSI Alliance), a 126% increase since 2012
As of 2019, according to a Callan survey, more than 40% of U.S. institutional investors were incorporating ESG principles into their decision-making process
As of 2019: 82% of asset managers in a Russell Investments survey said they had a formalized Responsible Investing Policy in place
Why BrightWorld ESG?
An ESG Pioneer
Linda Giuliano, our Founder & CEO, has been an ESG professional for more than a decade—long before it became widely adopted in the investment community. Linda brings decades of experience in asset management strategy, transformational innovation, process and product design, and operational leverage.
We view ESG as part of a larger picture for each of our clients, whether they’re evaluating how to incorporate ESG, enhance existing policies, or align their values with their investments. We’ll make ESG one of the many interlocking pieces of their overall strategy.
BrightWorld ESG recognizes that working closely together with clients and other members of their teams brings their interests and ours in line, and is geared to result in the best outcomes for our clients.
Whether you’re focused on one aspect of ESG—such as promoting or understanding proxy voting—or overall strategy, we’ll customize solutions to your needs and goals.
Linda embodies the principles of an idealist, tempered by the practicality of a realist. She’s committed to doing well for her clients, while still embracing the goal of doing good. She brings to BrightWorld more than 30 years of experience as a senior-level manager, at AllianceBernstein, a global asset manager, including serving as the firm’s first Head of Responsible Investing. She also held C-level roles in equities and alternative investments, and created the firm’s first internal consulting department. Under Linda’s guidance, AllianceBernstein became an early ESG proponent in the financial-services industry. Linda also serves on various educational Boards, and is often a featured speaker on ESG topics and investment stewardship at industry events.
How We Can Help
BrightWorld ESG can analyze and help develop ESG strategy as a whole or bring any of its underlying elements in line with the objectives of your firm.
We’ll work with you in formulating the ESG strategies that best align with your priorities and assist in their implementation.
We can easily work with your investment teams to develop an approach to integrate ESG factors that is compatible with your investment process.
Proxy voting and ESG engagement are important mechanisms for investors to facilitate positive change. We can evaluate your existing stewardship policies and processes, and identify opportunities to enhance and amplify your voice.
Some investors are seeking specific investment solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change and social inequity. Others wish to align their investments with broader values. In either case, we can advise on ESG goals-based portfolio design.
ESG is most successful when specific policies or guidelines are clearly articulated. We can help develop or update those policies, aligning them with market standards and your individual corporate philosophy. See Resources for some useful references.
Disclosing information on your ESG efforts is expected—whether it’s responding to existing frameworks such as the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) or the Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) or determining what and how often you should report on ESG issues to your investors. We can guide you on these issues; see Resources for some widely-used reporting frameworks.
Positive change benefits corporate culture, investor outcomes, and the world at large. At BrightWorld ESG we see ourselves as an agent of positive change. We realize that it may not happen easily—though the dramatic changes brought about due to the COVID pandemic and the social unrest throughout 2020 energized the process. But promoting change is only half the story. Implementing it is the other, crucial part. Whether you’re an asset manager or an investor, we’ll work with you in conceiving and prioritizing ESG change-driven strategies, integrating them into your existing framework, and measuring your progress against goals.
What About Performance?
The performance of investment portfolios that incorporate ESG is a nuanced topic, because ESG approaches vary significantly, from assessing the material ESG issues as part of the research process, to pointed strategies with specific ESG goals—and everything in-between [see our What is ESG guide]. In such a broad landscape, ESG performance criteria can’t be compared among different approaches.
ESG integration should be expected to be part of the investment research process – it is simply a holistic approach to investment research — assessing the relevant risks and opportunities that may impact an investment, and ultimately client outcomes.
For ESG goals-based strategies, the risk and return characteristics of the portfolio should be evaluated along with its ESG goals, to determine if the strategy will meet the investor’s investment and ESG objectives.
ESG principles, strategies, and reporting frameworks are addressed in many publications from ESG industry organizations, ESG task forces, and other entities. You may find some of the links below helpful. Of course, we’re here to guide you through any of them.
LINDA C. GIULIANO
Founder and CEO, BrightWorld ESG
Linda is passionate about demystifying ESG. Too often, ESG is a noble but vague sentiment that does not translate into a business imperative. So, Linda founded BrightWorld ESG to work collaboratively with her clients on customizing ESG principles to match their company profiles and to achieve measurable objectives beyond aspirational goals. Enhancing AUM, brand identity, and competitive advantages are benefits Linda believes can be attained through transformational innovation especially when the outcome attracts more clients and builds brand loyalty.
Linda is an idealist with both feet planted firmly on the ground. She has deep expertise needed to fulfill the promise of her commitment. Prior to founding BrightWorld, Linda held leadership positions at AllianceBernstein (AB) investment management, formerly Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Over the span of three decades, she served in many capacities contributing greatly to the culture and success of the company. Linda was the firm’s first Head of Responsible Investing, developing the firm’s ESG strategy, and creating a framework for integrating ESG into security research and investment decision-making, and a platform of ESG goal-based portfolios. She also established a first of its kind partnership with Columbia University to develop a program for AB investment professionals on climate assessment, and she led a series of other educational events on ESG for AB stakeholders. With her vision, drive and leadership, the company is now widely acknowledged as a financial-services leader in ESG.
Prior to taking on ESG responsibilities at AB, Linda was Chief Administrative Officer of Equities, a newly created role in which she oversaw a constellation of activities, including financial management, operational risk, technological innovation, and talent management. In that critically important role, she envisioned and built a model to determine product profitability and cost allocation, and developed a compensation model for portfolio managers saving AB substantial expense, including $2 million annually, by introducing a system for procuring market data more efficient.
Before joining the Equity Management senior team, Linda’s positions at AB included serving as the first Chief Operating Officer for Alternative Investments—a new role in an emerging business opportunity for the company—and the first Director of Internal Consulting. In both roles, she helped generate new revenue and saved the company ~40%+ in costs. Those who know her would say Linda thrives on challenges!
Linda embraces the concept and commitment of service. She is a Board member of the Sherman College of Chiropractic and serves on the Executive Committee and the Advisory Committee of the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University. She is a former Chair of the Board of the YMCA in Tarrytown, New York. Linda is a highly sought-after featured speaker on ESG topics and investment stewardship at industry events.
Linda earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan and a M.B.A. from Cornell University. She also holds a certificate in Artificial Intelligence in Business Strategy from the MIT Sloan School of Management. She attained a FSA Level 1 Credential from the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and FINRA securities licenses in Series SIE, 7, 9/10, and 63.
Many terms are used to describe how ESG elements are implemented in the research process and in product design. Some terms are used interchangeably, which has created a bit of confusion among stakeholders. And it’s also important to note that some investment strategies combine different approaches. We hope you will find the guide below useful.
A word of advice: Communicate how you are using the terms with your stakeholders, to ensure you are talking about the same approach.
ESG, as a standalone acronym, “ESG investing”, “responsible investment”, and “sustainable investing” are often used interchangeably as umbrella terms for the approaches below.
ESG integration is the process by which investors evaluate how an entity manages the ESG elements that are relevant to their business. Governance topics are generally universal across industries, while environmental and social topics will vary based on their materiality to an industry. For example, product safety might be exceptionally important for a pharmaceutical company, whereas a cement company should be particularly concerned with GHG emissions and water usage.
The Resources section here provides a link to the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) which has a wealth of information on ESG materiality, including a map by industry.
Engagement is a method to influence the behavior of an entity to affect positive change.
Negative screening or exclusions are where specific investments, companies or industries are eliminated from the investment universe, such as tobacco, weapons, or high fossil fuel emitting companies.
Positive screening is where the investment universe only includes investments that meet specific criteria, such as those with a high number of women on the board, renewable energy, or those who manage their ESG risks/opportunities more effectively than peers.
Sustainability, according to the United Nations’ Brundtland Commission, is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Sustainable investing, in addition to being used as an umbrella term for different approaches, is also used to describe specific strategies such as those that select investments that manage their businesses in a way that doesn’t negatively impact future generations as noted above; or investments that align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Often, thematic portfolios fall under this category as they are focused on one or more sustainability themes (clean water, renewable energy, access to healthcare).
Impact investing is an approach where there is clear intentionality and measurability in the investment, and is typically done through private, project-related investments, such as investing in a medical facility in a rural area that will bring access to medicine to an underserved community. However, this term is becoming more widely used as well, in some cases referring to any/all of the terms above.