Mapping coronavirus to sustainability

August 20, 2020

What are people saying about sustainability / ESG concerns on Twitter during March’s coronavirus outbreak? Visit our data, nearly 200,000 tweets scraped.

The responsible investment space has grown massively over the last five years. According to a report by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), sustainable investing assets reached $30.7 trillion at the start of 2018 representing a 34% growth since 2016. Zooming back a few months to the pre-coronavirus bull-market world, major business leaders and investors worldwide were announcing their commitment to responsible capital in increasingly large numbers.

  • In August 2019, 181 CEOs of US’s largest companies committed to lead their companies to the benefit of all stakeholders — customers, employees, communities and shareholders at the Business Roundtable.
  • The CEOs of two of the world’s largest asset managers, Blackrock and State Street promoted the future of sustainable finance.
  • Countless companies have made announcements committing to reduce their carbon (Microsoft, easyJet) and increasingly, executive compensation is being tied to sustainability benchmarks.
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Source: BlackRock Weekly Commentary March 30, 2020.
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Then Covid-19 happened.

Markets are down, companies are struggling and we have all been advised to ‘stay in our homes.’ People are scared. With this in mind a question for many ESG professionals is what does this mean for our sustainable future? Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital told the Financial Times:

“We believe this is the acid test for all this talk about purpose and stakeholder capitalism. This is when we find out who was just talking the talk and who is walking the walk.”

There are some early signs that ESG is here to stay, perhaps with an even increased importance in the post coronavirus world.

  • Jon Hale, Head of Responsible Investment at Morningstar has produced a series of articles showing strong ESG funds have weathered the market downturn better than their peers. He also emphasizes the importance of prioritizing stakeholders during these uncertain times.
  • On March 24th Barclay’s released a report emphasizing: “ESG implementation may be delayed, [but] it is unlikely to be abandoned in the long run — and it may even accelerate in a post-Covid-19 world.”
  • Meanwhile McKinsey has said that: “Now is also the time to consider investment and portfolio actions in the context of the unfolding humanitarian crisis.”

However, what is the wider ESG investment community saying in regards to these issues during the coronavirus crisis? To get to the bottom of it we analyzed nearly 200,000 thousand tweets from March 2020 in relation to: Coronavirus and ESG issues. We mapped these issues to support ESG professionals understand which ESG considerations are being discussed the most by the wider public.

Visit our data.

Our ask: This is the first of many tools we are planning to build to support ESG professionals. We are looking to speak to as many sustainable finance professional as possible to understand how we can leverage emerging technology to fill ESG data gaps. If you are willing to share 20 minutes to talk about your data challenges, you can reach out at [email protected] or schedule a call directly in our calendar.

What ESG issues ended up on our map?

Environmental issues: air pollution, climate, online climate strike, air travel, oceans, scientists, smoking, green, renewable, cleantech, sustainability.

Social issues: basic necessities, education, healthcare,
human rights, mental health, personal safety, public health,
child care, education, delivery, pets, daily-life, fitness, video streaming, social networks, art, delivery, university, food, smoking.

Governance issues: Social distancing, working from home, employees, healthcare workers, healthcare supplies, cybersecurity, financial system, innovation, politics, advocacy, workers, job, outbreak, grants, cryptocurrency, technology.

Visit our data here.

Key Learnings:

  • Drawing parallels between coronavirus and the climate crisis are very common.
  • Healthcare workers and health care supplies are a top priority.
  • Social distancing is the top prevention tactic. Some employers adopted social distancing strategies very early in March.
  • More public emphasis on public health.
  • Pets, fitness, personal safety and mental health are top of people’s mind.

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About Nossa Data: Nossa Data is a stealth-mode start-up. We provide investors and start-ups with easy to use tools to streamline sustainable investment / ESG: Analysis, reporting and communication. To learn more about our tools, sign-up for updates on our website.