One can't look very far in the investment management world these days without encountering the term 'sustainability'. But what does this mean for marketing?

Over the last decade investors have been increasingly vocal about the importance of considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) data in an investment approach. This has had significant ramifications for a number of financial services businesses, as analysts have been pressed to apply more rigorous screening methodologies in their research.

Similarly, investment managers have been developing policies for dealing with those businesses that fall short on the ESG scale. Some of the largest asset owners - such as
Norway's sovereign wealth fund - have disinvested from, what they term 'sin stocks', while others have preferred to keep their investment stake in such companies, opting to use their voice as a shareholder to influence change.

This obviously has an impact on marketing teams in terms of ensuring that your firm's content - in all its collateral - reflects the consideration given to ESG principles in investment decisions.

However, your company's ESG policy also has ramifications for your marketing processes. When you convey a certain message on your marketing channels - especially if your business is vocal about their sustainability approach - you need to ensure that this reflects in your marketing approach as well.

Marketing output is the 'face' that many people first see about your company, and the public will scrutinise not only the quality of your product - i.e. whether presentation decks are printed on FSC-certified paper or your packaging is BPA-free - but also your marketing decisions.

This refers to the decision to print a document in the first place, or to have plastic water bottles as opposed to longer-lasting glass or metal bottles, and extends to investigating your choice of suppliers, such as your preferred events venues.

It is not enough to have the perfect ESG messaging in the investment approach, through to the marketing brochures. Sustainability is a concept that firms have to live, in order to be credible. Marketing teams should lead the way in their day-to-day efforts by giving due consideration to the concepts behind sustainability and reflect it in their output.