ESG-investeringer har været i vælten i længere tid. Men Corona pandemien har løftet området til nyt niveau. Det gælder ikke mindst ESG fokuserede ETF’er – børshandlede fonde, som i 2020 kun har set to uger med nedgang i investeringsflow. Begge uger endda kun i meget begrænset omfang, rapporterer Bloomberg.
Også på resultatsiden har ESG ETF´er klaret sig godt i coronakrisen.
Blomberg Opinion skriver:
“Coronavirus has accelerated many investment and financial trends and ESG investing is among them. Environmental, social and governance investing has been in vogue for a while. The pandemic has taken it to the next level. This is how flows into ESG exchange-traded funds this year have moved, according to Bloomberg:
Prices are down but in all the main regions of the world, MSCI’s index of ESG companies outperformed the main benchmark during the first quarter, as this chart from UBS Group AG shows:
This isn’t just an equity phenomenon. The ICE BofA Green Bond Index spent 2017 and 2018 performing almost exactly in line with equivalent euro investment-grade bonds. In crisis conditions, however, green bonds have come into their own:
There is a positive narrative to support this. In times like this, the story goes, companies that treat their staff and their surrounding communities well will be far better positioned to survive and prosper after the crisis. Corporate misbehavior is more unpopular than ever when so many people are hurting. And the clean air above locked-down cities will, some believe, give fresh impetus to attempts to reduce carbon emissions.
There is, however, a more cynical or skeptical narrative. That starts with the basic point that ESG ETFs appear to be a watered-down version of growth funds. This chart shows the main iShares ESG ETF, which is ahead of the Russell 3000 index of large and small-cap U.S. companies, and far ahead of the value version of the index — but lags behind the growth version:
My Bloomberg colleague Kriti Gupta analyzed the tech and healthcare weightings in the main U.S. ESG ETFs, and discovered that indeed the ESG methodologies naturally favor those sectors — which have performed gangbusters this year:
For context, the current weighting of tech in the S&P 500 is 26.7%, while pharma and biotech account for 8%. Thus Kriti suggests that ESG’s current popularity owes more to the fact that it offers a simple way to jump on the current hot stocks than to any greater desire to do good.