Testing Sustainability Standards

How can investors assess sustainability using accounting standards when considering infrastructure investments? A panel of experts explored the opportunities and challenges of international standards to measure the sustainability of the rapidly growing investment class at the Goal 17 Partners space on Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland.

The discussion focused on how investors can make sense of the multitude of accounting standards being promoted by different players in this space. It also explored the ongoing research partnership between the organizations represented, which will culminate in a case study report in spring 2020. While views varied on how to consolidate the increasingly crowded field of voluntary standards, there was consensus on the need to move the needle further on this issue, given the trillions of dollars of infrastructure investments needed in the coming decades.

Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure at KPMG, broadened the scope of discussion, saying that investors were “in the middle of a massive shift in consciousness” with ESG becoming increasingly vital across asset classes.

Jim Pass, Senior Managing Director of Guggenheim Investments, said it was critical to focus on measuring outputs, given that “the proof is in the pudding.”

Goal 17 Partners will continue to explore the topic with a session focused on infrastructure’s social impact taking place Thursday, Jan. 23 at 10:30am, featuring Tufts University, Guggenheim Partners, Meridiam, Global Infrastructure Basel, and Business for Nature.