Counterpoint: Critics of ESG Funds Are Wrong — Sustainable Investing Delivers Competitive Returns
By Lisa Woll
A recent critique of sustainable investing on MarketWatch by Alicia Munnell offers a highly skewed analysis with conclusions that simply aren’t justified by the facts.
I am the chief executive of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, a membership organization with the objective of advancing sustainable investing. Sustainable investing does not exist to score political points. It is a dynamic investing discipline that considers environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive social impact.
In 2018, US SIF identified $12 trillion in U.S.-domiciled assets whose managers either review ESG issues as part of their investment analysis or portfolio selection or file shareholder resolutions on ESG issues at their portfolio companies’ annual meetings. This total is an increase of 38% since 2016.
Included in this sum are hundreds of mutual funds and dozens of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in a range of asset classes spanning U.S. stocks, international equities and bonds. Sustainable investing now represents one in four dollars of the $46.6 trillion in U.S. assets under management.
Photo courtesy of Dana Smillie.