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Responsible Investing


Driving responsible investing with workable investment solutions

With over 25 years of experience managing socially responsible portfolios and an ever increasing client base in diverse socially-screened strategies, Northern Trust offers a breadth of capabilities to build a complete portfolio solution incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors:

  • Multiple approaches to incorporating ESG factors into portfolios, such as negative and positive screens, shareholder advocacy, and best-of-sector stock selection.
  • Passive, active, and tax-efficient investment strategies may be used in combination with responsible investing techniques.
  • Strong relationships with leading ESG specialist firms giving our clients access to industry leading research paired with seamless investment execution.
  • Extensive experience managing portfolios to ESG indices from both major index providers and independent firms giving clients a cost-efficient approach to responsible investing.
  • Pooled funds and separate accounts for scale, efficiency and customisation.

Responsible Investment Capabilities
We understand that there is a broad set of motivations driving our clients to into responsible investing. We have designed our suite of capabilities to give clients flexibility in their approach but the assurance that their strategies will be supported by the full resources of our world class investment management processes and execution.

Innovative Ideas
Northern Trust has a history of working with our clients to deliver customised investment solutions to meet their needs. We have used this approach to develop unique funds within the responsible investing domain. First we worked with investors across Europe to identify common ESG concerns which we used to launch of our World Custom ESG fund in 2012; shortly after this we created our ground breaking Emerging Markets Custom ESG fund – the first index fund ever to offer emerging markets exposure combining ESG industry and norms-based screens and a unique governance screen.

Negative Screens
Negative screens exclude companies with involvement in any of the following industries or activities that clients choose to restrict:

  • Abortion
  • Adult entertainment
  • Alcohol
  • Animal Testing
  • Contraceptives
  • Discrimination
  • Environmental destruction
  • Firearms
  • Gambling
  • Labor abuse
  • Military weapons
  • Nuclear Power
  • Pork
  • Stem Cell
  • Sudan
  • Tobacco

Positive Screens
Positive screening includes companies with strong performance in any of the following ESG factors that clients choose to emphasize:

  • Community Relations
  • Charitable Giving
  • Clean Energy
  • Corporate Governance
  • Employee Relations
  • Environmental Policy
  • Firm Diversity
  • Human Rights
  • Product Safety
  • Union Rights
  • Work/Life Benefits

Best-of-Sector Stock Selection
Best-of-sector selects companies with the highest ESG record relative to sector peers. As a result, companies in industries traditionally screened out of responsible portfolios, such as oil and mining, are included in these portfolios. This reduces the sector-bias common in screened portfolios. Best-of-sector stock selection also creates an incentive for other companies within the industry to improve their social and environmental impacts.

Shareholder Advocacy
Shareholder Advocacy describes investor efforts to submit and vote corporate proxy resolutions as a means of influencing company behavior. This strategy was successful in pressuring corporations to pull out of South Africa. It has also been instrumental in reporting minority hiring practices and improving environmental practices through adoption of the CERES principles (an environmental code of conduct).

Mamadou-Abou Sarr

Mamadou-Abou Sarr

Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance Investing, Asset Management
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Mamadou-Abou Sarr

Mamadou-Abou Sarr

Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance Investing, Asset Management

Mamadou-Abou Sarr is the Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing at Northern Trust Asset Management where he is responsible for ESG innovation and product development across our array of asset class capabilities.  Mamadou has a key role within Northern Trust to proactively develop new ideas to ensure that ESG thinking remains central to our business development.

Mamadou has also a strong link to the Global Equity Strategist team support the advancement of our engineered equity product positioning, capabilities, and business in EMEA and APAC regions.  

Prior to joining Northern Trust, Mamadou was with HSBC Global Asset Management as a quantitative product specialist responsible for quantitative strategies across all asset classes in EMEA.

Before HSBC, Mamadou worked within the Business Development Service department at Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM) where he was covering portable alpha and liability driven strategies. Prior to this position Mamadou worked as a fund of hedge fund marketing analyst at Amundi Alternative Investments covering Commodity Trading Advisor and Global Macro funds. Mamadou started his career as a FX Sales Trader for Citigroup based in Senegal.

Mamadou received his B.A. in economics from the Université Jean Monnet and holds a Specialised Master in international project management from the European School of Management (ESCP Europe), Paris.  Additionally, he holds the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) and received the Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) from the Chartered Institute from Securities & Investment (CISI). Mamadou is an Associate of the Chartered Institute from Securities & Investment (ACSI), a former board member of the Islamic Finance Qualification and a member of the CFA UK Institute. Mamadou has been named in the Financial “Top 40 under 40 Rising Stars in Asset Management” in September 2014.

Insights & Research

Helping you anticipate and address change.


Doing Good and Doing Well [PDF]

By incorporating a quality factor overlay into an ESG portfolio, investors are able to emphasize the long-run sustainability of ESG practices while increasing the likelihood of performance above the benchmark. Read our paper to discover more.


Brochure: Responsible Investing

Responsible Investing; financial goals - ethically considered.

Mamadou-Abou Sarr at FundFire discussing the adoption of ESG strategies

Mamadou Abou Sarr on Fundfire
February, 2015 - Morgan Davis speaks to Mamadou-Abou Sarr, Global Head of ESG Investing at Northern Trust on how institutional investors can realistically incorporate ESG into their portfolios.
Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Logo

Principles for Responsible Investment

Northern Trust is proud to be a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the United Nations-backed industry devised investment guidelines.


Northern Trust Corporation. Head Office: 50 South La Salle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603 U.S.A. Incorporated with limited liability in the U.S. Products and services provided by subsidiaries of Northern Trust Corporation may vary in different markets and are offered in accordance with local regulation. For more information, read our legal and regulatory information about individual market offices.

Northern Trust Asset Management comprises Northern Trust Investments, Inc., Northern Trust Global Investments Limited, Northern Trust Global Investments Japan, K.K., NT Global Advisors, Inc. and investment personnel of The Northern Trust Company of Hong Kong Limited and The Northern Trust Company.

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Issued by Northern Trust Global Investments Limited.