The consideration of ESG issues for listed Equities (ex-REITs) primarily takes place within our equity investment process through our Global Research Platform which has shareholder value factors embedded within the process as well as through the fundamental research of stocks by our analysts. The consideration of ESG factors for listed REITs are one of many investment factors that analysts consider when assessing a company. ESG factors are incorporated into our company research reports, whereby companies with superior ESG ratings are viewed more favorably.
Our analysts are the best placed to determine the importance of such factors in relation to a specific company or industry. The analysts provide the essential insights into industry trends and company-specific considerations including ESG issues. These insights are crucial to the evaluation of sustainable competitive advantages and risks at a company-specific and industry level. Analysts have discretion to focus on the considerations and concerns they feel are most important and impactful to sustainable earnings, sentiment and relative valuation. In addition, analysts have access to MSCI Research from which ESG related data can be extracted. Over 6,000 companies are covered in the MSCI universe, and available on the analyst's desktop.
Our stock selection approach focuses on the early identification of fundamental change and differentiating companies on the basis of sustainable earnings trends, investor sentiment, and relative valuation. Academic research and empirical data suggest that some ESG factors can have a material impact on each of these fundamental considerations. Therefore, we consider certain ESG issues to the extent they have material implications on these considerations, consistent with our fiduciary duty to help clients achieve their investment objectives and protect their economic interests.