COVID-19: Investors find new ways to drive positive social outcomes

  • 11 December 2020 (5 min read)

Key points

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has put corporate ESG practices in the spotlight. Fresh attention has fallen on social issues such as public health, human capital management and societal inequalities
  • This has led more stakeholders to ask how investments can be made with positive social outcomes and impacts
  • In this paper, we look at the various approaches AXA IM has adopted to help our clients achieve these objectives
  • We believe investors can drive positive social outcomes through investment in different asset classes and can deliver impact through engagement and voting

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a test of companies’ sustainability credentials. It has served to sharpen public and investor scrutiny of environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices and we have observed that this has particularly involved a more intense focus on the ‘social’ component.

It should be no great surprise. The social pillar in ESG includes a wide range of issues that came to the fore as the effects of the virus and accompanying lockdown measures took hold. The pandemic has exposed concerns about employee treatment, supply chain management, gender inequality, ethnic diversity, global health, education, data privacy and more.

In this context, we have seen a spike in stakeholder interest about investments that can drive positive social outcomes. This has been with a view to the short term objective of improving the situation related to the public health emergency as well as the long-term objective of helping develop a more pandemic-resilient society. This also feeds into the wider desire to make decisive progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals1 .

In this paper, we will highlight a series of approaches adopted by AXA IM and address some of the challenges and opportunities presented.



    This website is published by AXA Investment Managers Asia (Singapore) Ltd (ARBN 115203622) (“AXA IM Asia”). AXA IM Asia is exempt from the requirement to hold an Australian Financial Services License and is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore under Singaporean laws, which differ from Australian laws.  AXA IM Asia offers financial services in Australia only to residents who are “wholesale clients" within the meaning of Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

    This publication is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments, nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities.

    Due to its simplification, this publication is partial and opinions, estimates and forecasts herein are subjective and subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee forecasts made will come to pass. Data, figures, declarations, analysis, predictions and other information in this publication is provided based on our state of knowledge at the time of creation of this publication. Whilst every care is taken, no representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the recipient. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision.

    All investment involves risk , including the loss of capital. The value of investments and the income from them can fluctuate and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.