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Argus Research believes that ESG investing is a smart option to consider. Companies committed to ESG values typically reflect positive traits from management which often translate into better business. ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) investing has come a long way and continues to grow. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Association, global assets under management in ESG strategies were $40 trillion in 2020, up from $23 trillion in 2016 and on track for $50 trillion by 2025. The discipline, originally known as Socially Responsible Investing, focused at first on excluding companies that conducted business in South Africa, or participated in industries such as tobacco, alcohol, and firearms. In time, the list of industries to avoid increased to include soft drinks, fast food, and oil and gas, among numerous others. But performance of these initial strategies lagged. Now, instead of merely identifying industries to avoid, the discipline promotes “sustainable” business practices across industries that have an “impact” on global issues such as climate, hunger, poverty, disease, shelter, and workers’ rights. At Argus Research, we track ESG progress at specific companies as part of our Management analysis — one of the six points in our proprietary Six-Point System for fundamental research. In addition to reviewing and measuring the ESG proclamations from companies under coverage, we partner with an ESG research firm, JUST Capital, and leverage its analysis and insights. JUST Capital’s mission is to drive measurable corporate change to create a stakeholder-centric form of capitalism that reflects the priorities of the American public. JUST utilizes a combination of data-driven research and strategic engagement in an attempt to shift norms and practices in corporate America and the financial markets. JUST ESG Custom Ratings rank stocks in the Russell 1000 on criteria using a scale of 1-100. Drawing on the JUST Capital rankings, we have compiled focused lists of companies followed by Argus Research that are in position to have a “sustainable impact” on the environment, workplace, community, and marketplace. These firms have exemplary records of delivering on the bottom line, and also in improving the environment, contributing to community relations, and showing respect for their employees. We also have a theme model portfolio based in part on ESG criteria. To build the Argus U.S. ESG Theme Model Portfolio, we apply financial concepts such as industry diversification, income generation, risk reduction, and growth at a reasonable price to our various lists. In addition, all stocks must be on the Argus BUY list. For more on JUST Capital’s criteria, please visit the JUST Capital website, www.justcapital.com. For more information on the Argus companies, please see our Analyst Reports at www.argusresearch.com. Here are some of the stocks that are currently in the Argus U.S. ESG Theme Model Portfolio.
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