Sunday, 02 July 2023 18:46

Assessing the Impact of ESG Investing

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In an article for Quartz, Nate DiCamillo assesses whether ESG funds are having a positive impact. In theory, ESG investing will compel companies to act more responsibly by accounting for environmental, social, and governmental principles when making decisions.

Critics contend that ESG funds are merely a means for asset managers to collect fees given the murky nature of ESG factor scoring. It also creates an incentive for companies to ‘greenwash’ certain behaviors simply to get higher ESG scores. 

Others are also dismissive of ESG, because it attempts to combine disparate issues into a single product that have little relation to each other. Additionally, there is little evidence that ESG results in better outcomes, yet companies spend more resources to align with these principles to please ESG-focused investors. 

What’s interesting is that the trend may have peaked. In the first quarter of the year, inflows into ESG funds were down by $163 billion compared to last year. In part, it’s due to the partisan backlash against the trend as many conservatives are pushing legislation to ensure that state funds are barred from investing in ESG funds or using ESG to make investment decisions. 

Finsum: ESG investing has become the center of intense controversy. Yet, it remains unclear whether it’s actually effective in terms of reaching its goals. 


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