Behind the buzz of ESG investing, a focus on tech giants and no regulation

The idea of responsible investing isn’t new. It was born in the 1970s with religious groups that didn’t want to see their money invested in sectors like weapons, liquor or tobacco. The roots of one type of such investing that began in the 2000s, however, were based on a broader and more appealing concept: ESG, or environment, social and governance. In 2020, when the CEO of BlackRock — the largest asset manager of the world, with more than $7 trillion under management — put climate change at the center of his traditional letter to CEOs, ESG definitely stopped being a niche concern and entered into Wall Street’s agenda. Now, it’s hard to find a bank or broker that doesn’t have an ESG fund to offer to its clients. The pandemic has just strengthened this tendency by hitting carbon-intensive sectors hard and encouraging a green economic recovery. Almost every week, a new headline shows how ESG investing has grown. “I have seen charts that range from anything from $800 billion up to $40 trillion,” says Robert Jenkins, head of global research at Refinitiv Lipper, a company from the London Stock Exchange Group that provides financial data and insights to investors and business. According to Refinitiv’s figures, assets under management in ESG funds leaped from $666.5 billion in 2004 to $3.47 trillion in 2020. That’s a conservative figure when compared with the $30.7 trillion presented in the last report (from 2018) of the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, formed by sustainable investment organizations…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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