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sky over solar panels

Glossary: A-D

A UK outlet shopping center soaks up the sun while pursuing a stable income stream for investors.

Responsible property investment is about more than just reducing the carbon footprint. It’s about understanding and managing external risks that may jeopardize our investments. And it’s about identifying opportunities that will protect and enhance value in the face of changing environments.

Carbon footprint

/'kär-bən 'fu̇t-print/ noun

The Nuveen Real Estate business recently installed solar panels on Dalton Park, an outlet shopping and leisure center in the northeast UK. Aiming to future-proof the center against energy price rises and supply shortages, the property generates over 100,000 kWh of electricity each year, saving 93 tons of CO2 annually1, reducing energy service costs, and pursuing a stable income stream for investors.

One hundred percent of the renewable energy generated is used on site. It boosts investment returns because the cost savings on reduced consumption of national-grid electricity is greater than revenue generated by exporting the same amount of electricity to the grid.


Glossary: A-D

Best in class

Selecting issuers that demonstrate better ESG characteristics within a particular sector, industry or peer group, and achieve a rating above a defined threshold.

Board quality

Boards play a critical role in crisis management, oversight, and risk management — setting the tone at the top before incidents occur. From an investment standpoint, issues such as director independence, board composition, experience, perspectives and tenure are important because they protect shareholder value. Board composition, executive compensation, business ethics and accounting practices all reflect a board’s judgment and priorities.

Carbon footprint

The sum of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — primarily carbon dioxide and other GHGs — for a given company or group of companies comprising a portfolio. For a public equities portfolio, these emissions then are typically pro-rated in proportion to the number of shares held by each company.

Climate change

A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid- to late-20th century onward — especially warming — attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. 

Controversial business involvement

Refers to a security issuer’s activity in an industry that can cause significant social harm. Industries include tobacco, alcohol and firearms, among others.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

A company’s efforts to evaluate the effect of its operations, processes and philanthropy on the broader community and to set policies and practices that maximize the positive impact of its activities on the company’s key stakeholders.


The sale or disposition of securities or other assets based on corporate behavior that is not aligned with specific environmental, social and governance objectives, values or convictions. See responsible investing – other RI approaches .

A-D       E-F       G-N       O-R       S-Z

Investing involves risk; principal loss is possible.

1 Nuveen Real Estate: Net zero carbon pathway (2020)

2 Nuveen Natural Capital: Investing in Farmland (2020)

3The World Green Building Council: From Thousands to Billions (2017)

Responsible investing incorporates Environmental Social Governance (ESG) factors that may affect exposure to issuers, sectors, industries, limiting the type and number of investment opportunities available, which could result in excluding investments that perform well.

Because ESG criteria excludes some investments, an ESG strategy may not be able to take advantage of the same opportunities or market trends as funds that do not use such criteria.

The views and opinions expressed are for informational and educational purposes only as of the date of production/writing and may change without notice at any time based on factors such as market conditions or legal and regulatory developments. All information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed. This material may contain “forward-looking” information that is not purely historical in nature. Such information may include, among other things, projections, forecasts, estimates of market returns, and proposed or expected portfolio composition. Any changes to assumptions made in preparing this material could have a material impact on the information presented herein. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing involves risk; principal loss is possible. This information does not constitute investment research as defined under MiFID.

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