DFA US Small Cap Growth Portfolio may not appeal to sustainability-conscious investors.
This fund has relatively low exposure to ESG risk compared with its peers in the US Equity Small Cap category, earning it the second highest Morningstar Sustainability Rating of 4 globes. ESG risk provides investors with a signal that reflects to what degree their investments are exposed to risks related to material ESG issues, such as climate change and inequalities, that are not sufficiently managed. ESG risk differs from impact, which is about seeking positive environmental and social outcomes.
The fund has little exposure (0.75%) to companies with high or severe controversies. From bribery and corruption to workplace discrimination and environmental incidents, controversies are incidents that may negatively affect stakeholders, the environment, or the company’s operations.
One potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that DFA US Small Cap Growth Portfolio doesn’t have an ESG-focused mandate. A fund with an ESG-focused mandate would have a higher probability to drive positive ESG outcomes. The fund's current involvement in fossil fuels reaches 4.92%, surpassing 4.48% for its average category peer. Companies are considered involved in fossil fuels if they derive some revenue from thermal coal, oil, and gas.
DFA US Small Cap Growth Portfolio's Carbon Risk Score of 12.27 is at the lower end of the medium carbon risk band. This score represents the asset-weighted carbon risk score of the portfolio's equity or corporate bond holdings, averaged over the trailing 12 months. This suggests the fund’s current holdings are moderately positioned to transition to a low-carbon economy. Such funds invest in companies that tend to operate in sectors less exposed to the transition (such as healthcare and IT) and/or companies in more carbon-intensive sectors (such as industrials and utilities) but that consider climate change in their business strategy and products, and therefore are positively aligned with the transition.