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It's time to rethink the 'S' in ESG and put the focus on stakeholders

Jonathan Neilan


Thursday Insight

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Trend setter: Greta Thunberg spawned a climate protest movement that captured the world’s attention. Photo: PA Wire

Trend setter: Greta Thunberg spawned a climate protest movement that captured the world’s attention. Photo: PA Wire

Trend setter: Greta Thunberg spawned a climate protest movement that captured the world’s attention. Photo: PA Wire

Almost two years ago a teenage girl, Greta Thunberg, started her climate protest outside the Swedish parliament, spawning a movement that captured the world's attention. Over the same period, what was less apparent was the shift in capital markets to place greater emphasis on environmental, social and governance or 'ESG' issues at companies worldwide.

In 2019, an incremental $70bn (€62bn) is estimated to have been invested in ESG funds while traditional equity funds suffered almost $200bn of outflows. What was once a marginal consideration for investors is now front and centre.

Since Enron's collapse in 2001, and subsequent failings that led to the financial crisis in 2008, governance has been high on the corporate agenda.