ESG ratings have become an increasingly popular marketing tool for private firms that want to portray themselves as socially responsible.
Wall Street has also attracted trillions of dollars in new investment by promising consumers the opportunity to “put their money where their values are.”
Supporters say companies that demonstrate a commitment to ESG issues are better managed, generate greater brand loyalty and attract a better workforce — meaning they ultimately provide a greater return on investment.
Opponents, by contrast, see ESGs as a backdoor scheme to pressure companies into supporting liberal causes.
Earlier this year, for example, West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore convinced lawmakers to give him the authority to stop doing business with financial institutions that won’t lend money to the coal or oil industries.