Russia, rising interest rates and backlash: Can ESG survive?

Some criticisms are deserved

clock • 5 min read
Paras Anand of Artemis Investment Management
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Paras Anand of Artemis Investment Management

Many sustainable funds have fared poorly during the turmoil triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the consequent sanctions. Excluding sectors like oil, gas and defence from portfolios has suddenly proven costly.

So has owning shares in new-technology industries long favoured by the sector. With interest rates rising, many companies - formerly known as "growth stocks" - no longer trade on heady multiples and their share prices have plunged. And so the backlash against sustainable investing has begun. Last month the pioneer of modern electric car manufacturing, Elon Musk, labelled ESG a scam after Tesla was removed from S&P's ESG index. HSBC Asset Management's head of responsible investment caused a furore when he suggested climate change did not pose a financial risk to investors. And in the US, ...

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