S&P is rolling out socially-minded index

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S&P Dow Jones Indices, a unit of S&P Global Inc., is launching an environmental, social and governance version of its S&P 500 Index in an effort to meet increased investor demand for impact-investment products based on U.S. equities.

In the coming months, S&P DJI will also launch a global family of ESG indices based on its other widely tracked regional and country-specific large and mid-cap benchmarks used in the Americas; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

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The S&P 500 ESG Index (ticker: SPXESUP) will replicate the risk and return of the S&P 500 — the market-cap-weighted index of the 500-largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. — while integrating environmental, social and governance criteria, according to company officials.

The index will target 75% of the traditional S&P 500’s market capitalization at the industry level based on the Global Industry Classification Standard.

“We are excited to bring to market these innovative ESG indices and scores,” said Alex Matturri, CEO at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Our philosophy as an independent index provider is to offer choice to investors.

“We will continue to contribute to the growth of sustainable finance and economies through our indices.”

The new index will exclude tobacco producers, makers of certain weapons and companies with a low score in relation to the United Nations Global Compact principles for responsible businesses. S&P will use data from ESG ratings providers Sustainalytics and Arabesque to screen out ineligible companies.

S&P DJI said the new S&P 500 ESG Index will serve as a performance-tracking tool and a building block for new ESG index-based investment vehicles and passive investing solutions, such as ETFs.

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