MSCI Inc. has come out firing against the hedge funds' strategy in dealing with ESG. Many prominent hedge funds, like AQR, have not only invested in ESG but are shorting poor ESG scoring companies in an attempt to raise the cost of capital. MSCI VP of ESG, Rumi Mahmood, says this is not an effective ESG strategy because it decreases transparency and doesn’t align corporate and investor interests. On top of that, he believes shorting poor ESG metrics won’t affect the cost of capital for these companies. MSCI finds that engagement over time is the alternative and better pathway to influence a company's behavior.
Finsum: There is not enough evidence out there as to the effect of short selling on capital formation, however, companies shorting traditional energy have taken a bath.