ESG Investing: All Grown Up?

ESG investing, or simply ‘ESG’, first emerged in the mid-2000s and began to accelerate appreciably in the 2010s. In the 2020s, it is coming of age. Much like with human beings, during ESG’s adolescence it struggled to define its identity and purpose. A coherent set of rules, norms and conventions had yet to develop. Stakeholders on both buy and sell sides, plus their regulators, had a general sense of what was to be achieved, but there were several schools of thought on how to get there. ESG in its naivety was known to be conned by charlatans. Today, however, the wisdom of experience is turning ESG into a serious proposition as an investment product, and as a purpose-driven activity. This article tracks ESG’s development in certain key areas and highlights issues that remain to be solved, in the context of what is seen as ESG’s positive development, particularly in recent years.

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