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Celebrating Earth Day with a Strong ESG Stance

Rick Lacaille, Global Head of ESG

Today marks Earth Day, a celebration dating back to 1970 meant to shine a light on the need for environmental activism. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Invest in our Planet,” and as State Street is in the investing business, we can think of no more apt slogan.

Like any other investment, those made in our planet must be long-term, research-based, and perhaps most important, strategic in nature. The only surefire way to ensure that platitudes about taking action do not fall by the wayside is a sustainable basis and widespread support. Given that this decade represents our last best chance to put the world on a sustainable trajectory, strategic action is critical.

State Street has a strong environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitment because we believe addressing ESG issues can help generate better long-term outcomes. Our three-pronged approach aligns with our various roles: 1) as an asset manager, 2) as an asset servicer, and 3) as a responsible corporation and industry partner. As an asset manager—and a major investor in thousands of global companies—we engage on ESG issues that drive long-term value through our asset stewardship practices. We manage a wide variety of ESG investment strategies to enable our clients to express their ESG objectives. As an asset servicer, we enable asset owners and asset managers to become more effective in their understanding and usage of ESG as an investment and business lever. And as a global corporation, we have an ESG strategy against which we execute a range of operational initiatives to achieve our own ESG goals. These activities range from carefully managing our organization’s environmental impact; to ensuring resiliency; to bolstering inclusion, diversity, and equity across our workforce and suppliers.

This past year we supported our clients across all of our business lines in their navigation of the evolving ESG landscape, offering investment solutions and reporting tools along with products to meet the wide and growing range of client needs, while managing ESG efforts within our own operations. We continued to use our voice and vote on ESG matters that drive long-term value, with an emphasis on climate, diversity, and governance. 

Additionally, in 2021, we continued to carefully manage our operational footprint to reduce our environmental impact – including reducing our carbon emissions by 25 percent and exceeding our waste recycling rate goal of 80 percent – while participating in partnerships and initiatives centered on climate action. In addition to operating in an environmentally responsible way, we focus our ESG efforts on the areas where we believe we can have the greatest impacts. One of those areas is climate change, and in 2021 we had a leadership role in the Sustainable Markets Initiative and State Street Global Advisors signed onto the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative.

We are an engaged industry partner on ESG issues that our stakeholders deem to be important. Next week we will release our annual ESG Report, where you can learn more about those issues and how we manage and measure them at State Street.

Sometimes it is worth taking a moment to think deeply about words we might use every day. State Street is a custodian; a word that is synonymous with “guardian,” “caretaker,” and “protector.” As we move forward, we must continue to serve as custodians of more than just assets – but envision ourselves as custodians of the world that we share. April 22 comes as a reminder that every day, in fact, is Earth Day, and an investment in our planet is the most important long-term investment that any of us can make.

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