Solar panels near Boulder, Colorado. (Rick Wilking/Reuters) The true popularity of the ESG movement’s climate policies will be put to the test sooner rather than later.
When it comes to the world of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, we’ve become used to Panglossian headlines about how every new development only strengthens the case for groups such as Michael Bloomberg’s Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum. Institutional messaging is suffused with assumptions that corporate regulation will inevitably march leftward. But recent developments in energy markets and outlook — driven by the very policies pushed by ESG advocates — may signal a coming crack-up among the responsible-investing crowd.
There’s no shinier jewel in the woke corporate crown than the fight against climate change, and the success of ESG frameworks around the world are likely to be judged by how much they move the needle on related policy. The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, is expected propose rules on climate-change disclosure for public companies soon. That will almost certainly be only the first salvo, however, in a planned fusillade of rules meant to erect a “comprehensive ESG framework” covering everything from racial