By Dasha Afanasieva
Management consultants often urge their clients to view setbacks or difficulties as opportunities. The cost of reducing environmental impacts are often cited as one such “opportunity”.
Emerging markets may not be the obvious destination for your ethical investment. Rapidly expanding economies are consuming a lot of energy, pumping CO2 in return. Many of these markets suffer from legal and political problems that keep investors on their guard. BRIC legal systems have room for development. Their financial disclosure is still patchy.
One of the big drivers of the debt balloon that imploded so spectacularly was the trend for covenant "lite", which has allowed zombie companies to stumble on long past the point at which it would have been useful for creditors to intervene. This has sharpened the appetite for stronger corporate governance around covenants and persuaded investors that they need to take more of an active interest in what companies are actually doing with their money.
Socially responsible investing, which takes into account social, environmental and governance risks, is arguably still in its infancy in the Gulf, where the enormous wealth created by hydrocarbons sometimes flows into extravagant projects like an indoor ski resort.
Sovereign wealth funds, eager to be accepted in the West, are increasingly interested in showing the world that they care about environment and governance by investing in socially responsible firms.