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City A.M

City A.M

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Investors Prioritize Profits Over Green Credentials

  • Just 1% of investors considered ESG concerns paramount when deciding to back companies, with many prioritizing firm profits.
  • The term "ESG" is undergoing "fatigue", with some investors finding it challenging to apply to their investments due to its broad interpretation.
  • The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) remains optimistic, noting over half of professional investors see ESG as a vital consideration.

Green credentials and ESG claims are failing to win over investors as money managers and retail punters hunt for firms with healthy bottom lines, a new survey has suggested.

In a new temperature check of investor sentiment across the UK, communication agency MHP found that just one per cent of investors said environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns were top of their list when making decisions around whether to back companies.

Conversely, some 39 per cent said the health of the bottom line was the top driver of their investment decision making.

The numbers paint a troubling picture for the importance for ESG credentials after a turbulent few years in which investors have been hammered by volatility on the markets. 

Experts said today that investors were failing to tie ESG concerns to the performance of their investment over the longer term.

“It is likely that many retail investors still don’t understand that ESG concerns are intrinsically linked with these financial priorities over the long term. Added to this, there is some ‘ESG fatigue’,” said Laura Houet, global co-head of ESG at law firm CMS. 

“It is a broad term that has been used so widely within investment funds that, while we still do not have regulation to more identify specific strategies, it risks becoming a bit of a catchall term for investors that they struggle to apply to their own investments.”

The acronym dominated debate in the City over the past decade but concerns have spread over the veracity of many claims and rampant ‘greenwashing’ by businesses. 

Regulators globally have looked to tighten the guardrails around ESG claims, with the FCA drawing up rules to flush out unsubstantiated claims from the market.

However, the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) told City A.M. today that the backing for ESG credentials among professional investors showed there were reasons to be positive.

“This report finds that more than half of professional investors think ESG is an important factor in decision making – more than three times the number who don’t,” UKSIF chief James Alexander said.

“That’s because it is extremely difficult for investors to make the best decisions for their clients and savers without looking at the full range of material environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks.”


By CityAM

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on October 04 2023 said:
    Investors need a good return on their investments not a lot of hype about energy transition and net-zero emissions. They want to invest in real money not in illusions like energy transition and net-aero emissions that will never be achieved in 2050, 2100 or ever.

    That is why the global oil industry is the largest and most profitable industry in the world and that is also why investors flock to it. They prioritize profits over green credentials.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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