After a long run of seeming ascendance of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) awareness among companies, investors, and government entities, there has recently been noticeable backsliding in the name of shareholder primacy and political divisions.

A new survey released by HSBC found that rising anti-ESG sentiment is starting to affect how fund managers think about integrating such considerations into their funds. Forty-four percent of North American respondents said their reasons for having an ESG strategy have become weaker over the past 12 months.

This is a noticeable shift in sentiment, considering that more than $100 trillion was under management in funds with an ESG connection in 2022, and it is persuading some Wall Street firms to change their messaging to avoid controversy. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said last month that he has stopped using the term “ESG” because it has become too politicized.


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