Indices that integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data are moving from the margins to the mainstream, as investors increasingly seek to align their values with their investments. A new type of ESG index is emerging to facilitate this change in Mexico: the S&P/BMV Total Mexico ESG Index. Jointly developed by S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) and the Mexican stock exchange (Bolsa Mexicana de Valores [BMV]), this index not only highlights strong ESG companies—as ESG indices have traditionally done—but it also enables investors to allocate to such companies without requiring them to take on major risks relative to the market.
THE EVOLUTION OF ESG INDICES
In 1999, S&P DJI launched the first global ESG index, the Dow Jones SustainabilityTM World Index (DJSI World). By including the top 10% of companies, industry by industry, according to their ESG performance, as determined by the Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA) conducted by SAM, part of S&P Global, this groundbreaking index encouraged companies to incorporate many ESG factors in their decisions, extending beyond short-term financial considerations.
In the years that followed, other indices, including regional versions of the DJSI World, and local indices, such as the S&P/BMV IPC Sustainable Index, were launched with this same philosophy in mind: to highlight best-in-class companies and thereby inspire companies to improve their ESG approaches in order to qualify for inclusion in these indices.
Though these indices have been successful and have indeed inspired companies to change in positive ways, aspects of their methodologies present challenges for many investors. Some strategies can be too narrow for investors who want to remain broadly diversified. Though many high-conviction investors use the narrow, best-in-class indices for investment, we saw a need from market participants for ESG indices with returns more in line with the broader market, while providing a more sustainable portfolio of companies. An example of an index that launched in 2019 that typifies this investor-oriented methodology is the S&P 500® ESG Index.