This past summer, I launched [**Teal Insights**](https://www.linkedin.com/company/teal-insights/?viewAsMember=true), a research consulting firm focusing on uncovering actionable insights relevant to emerging markets, sovereign debt, and sustainability. It has been a pleasure working with the [**Emso Asset Management**](https://emso.com/) team to assess and continue to enhance their approach to Sovereign ESG in emerging markets. This publication benchmarked their approach to Sovereign ESG against best practices I helped formulate at the World Bank. It also outlined areas for growth going forward. Teal Insights is working with Emso Asset Management on an ongoing basis on projects related to sustainable finance in emerging markets sovereign fixed income. The partnership aims to cut through the wishful thinking and hype that currently dominate discussions of ESG to provide reality-based insights and investment practices.
How can we fix the structural problems of Sovereign ESG investing, and better align it with the achievement of sustainability goals?
As ESG investing has progressed from its origins in equity markets to sovereign fixed income markets, what exactly does "Sovereign ESG performance" measure? We find that Sovereign ESG scores are highly correlated with a country's level of income. This *ingrained income bias* has the potential to skew capital flows towards rich countries and away from developing nations, exacerbating SDG funding gaps, and incentiving investment in countries with higher per-capita CO2 emissions.
How can sovereign debt issuers manage rising climate risks, and finance the investments necessary to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs? As part of a team including former Chilean minister of finance, Felipe Larraín, we documented Chile's experience re-orienting its sovereign debt issuance to be better aligned with fulfilling its ambitious sustainability goals.
I created Morgan Stanley Investment Management's first Sovereign ESG framework. This paper explains the framework, and the philosophy behind it.
In this paper, I shed light on ESG investing by focusing on governance and examining its relationship with risk premiums and returns in emerging market hard currency bonds using the World Bank's [Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGIs)](https://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/).