The push for ESG (environmental, sustainable, and governance) investing has gone to extreme lengths, reports the Wall Street Journal (the story is behind a paywall).
“Now billions of dollars earmarked for sustainable investment are going to companies with questionable environmental credentials and, in some cases, huge business risks,” write Justin Scheck, Eliot Brown, and Ben Foldy. “They include a Chinese incinerator company, an animal-waste processor that recently settled a state lawsuit over its emissions and a self-driving-truck technology company.”
“One way to stretch the definition is to fund companies that supply products for the green economy, even if they harm the environment to do so,” they add.
The Journal story features a deep-sea mining company that hopes to get $600 million through a public offering. Gerard Barron, head of The Metals Company, says that while it is “a big mining, deep-sea mining project,” the only way to excite investors is to emphasize that the mined nodules have the minerals needed to produce batteries for electric vehicles.
Complicating Barron’s plan. however, is opposition from “biologists, oceanographers and the famous environmentalist David Attenborough,” who want to prohibit deep-sea mining. Even the World Bank has referred to “irreversible damage” from seabed mining.
“Experimental Seabed Mining” by AK Rockefeller is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.