New Horizons


2022 is likely to be the year when the responsible investment sector moves out of the shadows and stands firmly in the limelight, as it is no longer considered to be a niche player in the financial market.

This increased prominence will drive an unprecedented level of scrutiny for responsible investors, from regulators and stakeholders alike. It is also likely to see an increase in inflows to the sector, and an expansion in the ability of responsible investors to generate real-world change. How prepared is the sector for these developments?



ISS ESG has identified 10 of the key global trends that we believe responsible investors will be focusing on through 2022, both in terms of impacts on portfolio risk/returns, and in terms of time spent managing policies and stakeholder relationships.

Global Edition

The increased prominence of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in investment decision-making comes with increased responsibility to ensure that sustainable investment is demonstrating real-world outcomes. ISS ESG has compiled the global and regional ESG themes and trends that have emerged on our radar as the key issues to focus on this year.

Using ISS ESG data, analyst commentary, and comprehensive qualitative research from the ISS ESG global database, this paper acts as a year-long resource for investors seeking to navigate the potentialities of diverse global and regional ESG issues and their impacts across various investment markets.

Americas Edition

In 2021, COVID-19 disruptions persisted and continued to raise awareness around human impacts on biodiversity and climate change. A complementary focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion has only strengthened the call for urgent action at the corporate level, as well as through governmental/regulatory support.


  • Fossil Fuels- Abandoned Wells
  • Student debt: Too Big to Fail?
  • Civil Firearms Litigation Goes Transnational: The Mexican Government’s Lawsuit Against US Gun Companies

Europe, Middle East, and Africa Edition

While the degree of penetration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into investment strategies varies around the world, the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) bloc may be the region with the highest degree of heterogeneity.


  • Will the Scale Finally Tip? If Everything is ESG…is Nothing ESG?
  • UK vs EU Climate Policy
  • From Safeguard to Social Impact- The Rising Relevance of the ‘S’ in ESG

Asia-Pacific Edition

Asian markets significantly underperformed their western counterparts over the past year, at least partly due to a vaccine-led recovery in the United States and Europe which gathered pace through 2021. The recovery has raised concerns around the rise in the rate of inflation globally, however, which so far has not impacted Asian economies as much as other others.


  • A Few Good Women? Making the Case for Gender Diversity in Korea
  • Japan Wage Hikes – The Social and Economic Conundrum
  • Climate Change in India

Australia and New Zealand Edition

We are entering 2022 against the backdrop of a continuing pandemic, greater awareness of climate change impacts, and the growing acceptance of the need for fast action. With increasing recognition that the national bushfire crisis in 2019/2020 was driven at least in part by climate change, now is the time for responsible investment to take center stage in the Australian market.


  • Cultural Heritage: Fine, I’ll Do it Myself: Legal and Regulatory Frameworks Don’t Hold All the Answers for Investors Concerned with Respecting Indigenous Cultural Heritage in 2022
  • Cracking Down on Greenwashing – The Regulators Get Tough
  • Net Zero or Zero Tolerance for Human Rights Violations?


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