May 31, 2018

Let’s make sure that environmental, social and governance investing does not just signify ESG profiteering, or access to indulgences for paying worse sins.

Sir, John Authers writes: “On the side of the devil, ESG offers a rebranding for an unpopular industry, an excuse for data providers to crunch a lot of data and then charge for it” “Pressure for ESG presents fund management chiefs with a moral dilemma” May 31.

That is right on the dot. In all these political correct issues, what is by far the most present is the profit motive for those preaching it... morality is much absent

In terms of defending the environment, I would much rather prefer a huge revenue neutral carbon tax, meaning all its revenues paid out in equal shares to all its citizens, than having the climate change fight profiteers gaming the fight and taking their cut. It is sufficiently difficult and expensive as is.

And in terms of “social” it is much better to use all potential profits to help fund a Universal Basic Income than to help fund the social fighters.

But what really upsets me is that good governance is on the list of good socially conscious investments. Much better, much clearer, would be to make sure bad governance is never ever financed.

Let me be absolutely clear. I would much rather prefer a Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein being socially sanctioned, never ever more invited to a party in New York, for helping to finance a human rights violating regime like Venezuela’s Maduro’s, than allowing him to be able to purchase indulgencies to pay for his sins, by (profitably) financing some other “good” guys.