March 8

How Did ESG Funds Wind Up Investing in Putin’s Russia?

An investing movement that promotes itself as a protector of people and the planet has somehow found itself providing capital to the autocratic regime behind Europe’s worst military conflict since World War II.

Funds labeled ESG — an acronym that denotes a commitment to environmental, social and governance interests — own shares of Russia’s state-backed energy behemoths Gazprom and Rosneft, as well as its biggest lender, Sberbank. The funds also hold Russian government bonds, providing money that ultimately helped pad the coffers of President Vladimir Putin’s autocracy.

Paul Clements-Hunt, who led a group that coined the term ESG back in the mid-2000s, said it’s now clear that “ESG investors have failed.”


Photo credit: @markheybo

Source: Los Angeles Times (link opens in a new window)

ESG, impact investing