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Trex, Ecolab Are Smart ESG Plays Says ClearBridge Fund Manager

7/07/15 1:00 PM EDT
Institutional investors and pension funds are finally figuring out that environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is more than merely a fad. Mary Jane McQuillen, Head of ESG Investment at ClearBridge Investments, said the millennial generation didn’t need nearly as long to be convinced. 'On the retail side, more and more individuals and in particular the millennials, have been asking about ESG. They very much get it so they don’t have to have the performance factor proven for them. They understand it,' said McQuillen. As for ClearBridge’s approach to ESG investing, McQuillen said the firm addresses each selection on a fundamental level, sector by sector. 'There is some negative screening in the sense that there are certain industries that our clients prefer not to invest in, like tobacco for example,' said McQuillen. 'But it is also very much an integration of the value chain. In other words, where are the opportunities? Where are the risks? Our fundamental analysts at the sector level have identified the ESG issues and they weight it by sector because we understand that the issues that affect the technology company might not be the same effect in an energy company or consumer staples company.'
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