Linking impact and performance

Katherine Collins, CFA, MTS

Katherine Collins, CFA, MTS
Head of Sustainable Investing, 11/05/19

Sustainable Investing | Stories of impact

  • Our research uncovers companies that are creating products or services that can change the world for the better.
  • Our investing focuses on positive social and environmental impact that is linked to positive financial performance.
  • Our analysis involves partnership with external data providers, academic researchers, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

One of the most rewarding aspects of investment research and management is the potential to identify companies that are improving our world in a tangible and meaningful way. Often, the same elements that create environmental and social benefits are driving positive financial performance, whether in the form of innovative products, more efficient operations, or improved well-being for employees and community members.

Our success in this endeavor requires partnership and connection. Our research process involves collaboration with colleagues at Putnam, at other research and investment firms, and at the companies in which we invest.

Our analysis involves partnership with external data providers, academic researchers, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations. For example, we consider the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in our research and analysis. Sustainable development describes an approach to economic activity that seeks to avoid degrading or depleting resources that can contribute to future growth.

SDGs: Addressing the world’s most vital opportunities

The UN SDGs are a set of global priorities developed by countries, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific communities, and other stakeholders from around the world. The SDGs are a mandate to address the eminent challenges and opportunities facing our world. As the most comprehensive global map for sustainable development, the SDGs provide an important framework for assessing business and investor contributions to social and environmental impact.

The SDGs are organized as discrete goals, but they are intentionally interconnected. Per the United Nations, the SDGs “recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.”

A list of sustainable development goals

Providing a global blueprint for dignity, peace, and prosperity

The 17 SDGs are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. These goals “provide a global blueprint for dignity, peace, and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.”

For investors, the SDGs are a useful way to organize planning, action, and analysis. This framework can also lead us to ask different and better questions. Not all food products contribute to the goal of ending hunger and improving nutrition, for example. And some companies can contribute the most by assessing how they operate, as opposed to what they produce, for example, by improving gender equity within their workforce or improving sustainable production techniques. At Putnam, our research-intensive investment process will help us to develop thoughtful impact assessments over time.

Learn more about our sustainable investing approach

Putnam offers two funds that are rooted in the recognition that strong sustainability performance often coincides with strong financial performance over the long term.

Learn more about the funds and our sustainable investing approach at