Asset owners, asset managers, consultants and
governments are struggling with what it means to be a sustainable
investor, with many finding the practical implications and
applications of sustainability ‘off-putting’, according to Towers
Watson research.

The
global research project was conducted in conjunction with Oxford
University and was supported by 22 asset managers and eight
prominent investment thinkers.

The research sets out a sustainability roadmap
built on a framework of investment beliefs and governance
structures. 

Roger Urwin, global head of investment content
at Towers Watson, said at a time when the investment world is
changing so radically, investors now need to incorporate longer
time horizons and adapt to the structural changes coming from
economic, environmental, social and corporate governance factors to
be successful. 

Urwin said: “Strategies need to factor in the
deleveraging cycle, under-powered economic growth, resource
scarcity and ageing demographics in order to reach their
performance potential. This advanced planning of adaptive
strategies to secure good results for current and future
generations of stakeholders lies at the heart of sustainable
investment.”

He added: “Most of the world’s asset owner
governance is creaking under financial and complexity pressures. We
are aiming to provide a roadmap that integrates sustainability
considerations into investment decision making in a way that
alleviates these pressures.