At Pax World, we fully integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment analysis and portfolio construction. The result, we believe, is an increased level of scrutiny that helps us construct investment portfolios made up of better-managed companies that are leaders in their industries, meet positive standards of corporate responsibility and are more focused on the long term.
Here are some companies in the Pax Balanced Fund that we believe are maximizing sustainability-related opportunities, or are taking appropriate steps to address key ESG issues:
The information technology industry has a well-known gender gap, spanning all professional levels – from entry level positions to C-suite and boardroom executives. After engaging with Pax World on the issue of gender pay equity, Apple conducted a gender pay equity assessment for its U.S. employees in 2016 and reported it has achieved pay equity by gender for employees with similar roles and performance. The company has committed to expanding its pay analysis to include employees worldwide. Electronic waste is another material issue for information technology companies, and Apple’s reuse and recycling programs help reduce the environmental impact of its products. As a result of these efforts, the company has kept more than 597 million pounds of electronic waste out of landfills since 1994.
Whole Foods (WFM)
Whole Foods is a leader in offering natural, organic, and sustainable food products. In particular, the company has a comprehensive sustainable seafood program and aims for all of its seafood to be sourced sustainably. Organic certified items accounted for over 30% of Whole Foods’ store sales in 2015, and the company maintains extensive lists of ingredients that it does not allow in its food or body care products, which include artificial colors, flavors, and the controversial artificial sweetener aspartame. Whole Foods has a “Responsibly Grown” ratings system for fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers to provide additional transparency to consumers on the agricultural practices used in their cultivation.
State of California Green Bonds
These bonds finance environmentally beneficial projects addressing: air pollution reduction; clean water and drinking water; energy efficiency and conservation projects in public buildings; protection of beaches, bays and coastal waterways; flood prevention; and climate change reduction.
We are encouraged by the progress of these companies as they make their operations more sustainable, but we recognize that more can be done. That’s why we engage with companies on sustainability issues, and ask for information about policies, programs and performance data.