More managers and companies are self-reporting their ESG performance, but a common reporting framework has yet to emerge, according to a panel of women experts who gathered at the Coffee House in Manhattan on Monday.

“Impact reporting is going to be huge,” said Jessica Milano, director of ESG Research with Calvert Research and Management. “You will see more firms striving to show their client base the difference that these investments are having and driving positive change on the issues that investors care about.”

Milano spoke at a Tearing Down the Pink Wall conference on socially responsible investing, along with Elyse Cherry, CEO and co-founder of BlueHub Capital, and Laura LaRosa, executive director with Glenmede.

“For this market to develop and flourish, we need a common baseline for what information is reported or standardization,” Milano told a group made up of largely women financial journalists. 

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) released a set of industry-specific sustainability accounting standards in November covering financially material issues.

Milano told Financial Advisor magazine after the panel that Calvert’s ESG research starts from the bottom up. “We look at what are the most material issues that companies are exposed to sector by sector,” she said.

Proxy voting is another key differentiator among companies that are serious about ESG.

“What is their proxy voting strategy for ESG policy?” is one question Milano suggested that advisors and their clients ask.

LaRosa advised voting the proxies that come in from a corporation to push an agenda, such as disclosing pay between men and women employees.

“We have this on all of our sustainability products,” she said. “We vote in line with what we are trying to achieve.”

Like LaRosa, Cherry supports proxy voting, but combines it with the advancement of a blue economy.

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