Displaying items by tag: esg

In an article for Reuters, Ross Kerber reported on Tesla being added back to the S&P 500 ESG index following the EV maker adding environmental disclosures regarding its material sourcing and hiring practices.

Tesla was removed from the index last year following a series of controversies including a racial discrimination lawsuit and reports of crashes due to its autopilot program. At the time, CEO Elon Musk had been dismissive of the movement, labeling it a ‘scam’. S&P attributed the change to the company providing more information about climate risks and information about its supply chain management strategy.

The move is seen as symbolic given that only about $8 billion in assets is linked to the S&P 500 ESG index. However, it could start other ESG funds adding the EV leader to its holdings. 

Currently, the S&P ESG Index is going through this annual rebalancing with 39 companies being added, while 23 were removed. Notably, some of these moves have drawn scrutiny from people on both sides of the aisle given the additions of Chevron and Fox, while Exxon Mobil had previously been a member of the index, while Tesla was excluded. 

Finsum: Tesla has been added back to the S&P ESG Index after providing disclosures about its hiring practices, climate risks, and supply chain strategy.


Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 22 June 2023 02:46

Anti-ESG Funds Fail to Gain Traction

Amid the growing backlash to ESG investing, several anti-ESG funds were launched. Yet, these haven’t seen a significant surge in terms of inflows or returns that would indicate that the category will have long-term success.

According to Morningstar, inflows into these funds peaked in the third quarter of 2022 at $377 million but have dropped by more than 50% to $183 million in the first quarter of the year. 

Currently, there are 5 types of anti-ESG funds. Some are political and favor companies that are penalized by ESG factors. Another type are vice funds which invest in ‘sin’ stocks related to alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. There are also voter funds which look to vote against any ESG initiatives. Finally, the largest category are funds that previously used ESG factors for investment decisions but no longer do so. 

The biggest player in the anti-ESG market is Strive Asset Management, which was founded by Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and aims to compete with Blackrock and Vanguard. Its first fund saw strong demand but later funds have seen minimal enthusiasm with an average of $5 million of inflows. 

Finsum: Anti-ESG is an investing theme that launched last year, and many believed had potential. So far, there are limited signs that it's showing significant traction. 


Published in Wealth Management
Tuesday, 20 June 2023 03:38

Change for a dollar

Nickel and diming it? Not the global ESG Reporting Software Market. Uh uh. The bottom line tells the story: from burgeoning 0.7 billion last year, it’s expected to jump 1.5 billion by 2027, according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets, reported esgnews.com.

Among other factors, a leapfrog in the adoption of cloud-based solutions and services across verticals, as well as a spike in corporate data volume, are the most significant aspects fueling the acceleration of the ESG Reporting Software Market.

Meantime, not quite hitting the mark, you say?

While sorely needed transparency will emerge from a proposed European Union shake up of the ESSG ratings, it will fail to address the standardization indispensable in eliminating the scores causing confusion among investors and companies, according to some in the market, reported reuters.com.

The market for evaluating the ESG performance of companies? Its exploded. That’s because of the money socked into products marketed as sustainable by investors.

"By opting for transparency over standardisation, the EU's proposals are a promising blueprint, but they must go all the way," said Daniel Klier, CEO of data provider ESG Book.


Published in Eq: Total Market
Monday, 19 June 2023 04:34

Elon Musk Critical of ESG

On Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made critical comments as he shared an article which showed that tobacco companies like Philip Morris had higher ESG scores than the electric vehicle pioneer. Tesla was given an ESG score of 37 out of 100, while Philip Morris was scored an 84.

This isn’t the first time that Musk has spoken out against ESG. In addition to tobacco companies, Tesla also scored lower than fossil fuel companies like Shell and Exxon. Given the growth in ESG funds and influence of asset managers like Blackrock, stocks with higher ESG scores are the recipient of increased inflows.

However, this has also led to opposition as many see ESG rating as faulty and politically motivated. Additionally, companies are accused of ‘greenwashing’ or other behavior to game the ratings system to artificially boost ESG scores. 

For many, this is an indication that ESG investing is misguided as tobacco causes millions of deaths around the globe every year, and companies with a record of contributing to climate change are given better scores than Tesla which is leading the charge in making EVs more popular and cheaper.   

ESG proponents counter that Tesla scores well on environmental factors but falls short in terms of social and governance factors, leading to a poor overall score. 

Finsum: Elon Musk made critical comments about ESG investing following reports of tobacco companies and oil companies with higher ESG scores than Tesla.


Published in Wealth Management

ESG is increasingly becoming another front in the political battle between Democrats and Republicans. Over the last decade, ESG has been embraced by many asset managers and has been used to encourage corporations to evaluate decisions beyond just finances and consider environmental, social justice, and governance implications. This has led to a pushback among conservatives who are opposed to corporate activism and want a return to when investors and companies focused on financials.

It culminated with legislation passing in many red states that bars asset managers from considering ESG factors when making investment decisions with state funds. The same battle has raged at the federal level. In a Reuters article, Daniel Wiessner covers the Biden Administration’s filing to toss a lawsuit from a consortium of 25 Republican-led states which is looking to uphold the Trump Administration's ban on socially conscious investing by employee retirement plans. 

The ruling would impact retirement plans of nearly 150 million Americans, representing $12 trillion in assets. According to the Department of Justice and the Biden Administration, retirement plans should consider ESG factors in addition to financial information due to their impact on a company’s long-term health.   

Finsum: Republicans are looking to fight back against ESG investing. In turn, the Biden Administration is looking to toss a lawsuit from Republican states which would ban ESG investing for employee retirement plans.


Published in Wealth Management
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