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Increasingly polarised and politically charged debate about ESG principles in the US

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20/11/2022 | 1 minuta čtení

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In the US, the past several weeks have seen an increasingly polarised and politically charged debate about ESG principles. While 24 Republican-led states lined up to forbid ESG investing via public pension funds, 13 blue states responded with an anti-backlash letter[1].

The critics argued that ESG-influenced investing goes against fiduciary duty of the fund managers, who are obliged to maximise the profits. The advocates refute that, saying the anti-ESG practices negatively impact competitive costs, and increase potential risks that will be left for others to deal with in the future. Both camps blame each other for subjecting financial decision-making to political ideology.

Despite the ESG backlash in the US, the demand for sustainable investments is not losing its momentum and is outstripping supply[2]. Research by PWC suggests that as many as 81% US institutional investors plan to increase their allocations to ESG products over the next two years, which is almost on par with Europe, where 84% said they planned to do so.[3]

Also, a growing number of African countries have introduced financial market policies related to environmental, social or governance issues, suggests a recent study by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) and the South African bank Absa.

South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, and Egypt top the report's sustainability policy rankings, as they require banks to incorporate climate change into their risk management and reporting.[4]

[1] https://www.ftfnews.com/get-ready-for-a-major-battle-over-esg/31818

[2] https://www.ft.com/content/5763c866-3437-4b66-8467-09486454a162

[3] Asset and wealth management revolution 2022: Exponential expectations for ESG (pwc.com)

[4] https://www.omfif.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Absa-Africa-Financial-Markets-Index-2022.pdf


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