New Model Adviser - For professional financial planners

Register free for our breaking news email alerts with analysis and cutting edge commentary from our award winning team. Registration only takes a minute.

Managers decry 'cuppa soup' ESG fund pretenders

Four specialist ESG and SRI fund managers gathered in the Citywire studio to debate the misleading claims made by some managers when it comes to a fund's green credentials.

The phrase ‘ESG’ (standing for environment, social and governance) seems to have burst forth this year with a slew of publicity around how fund management is, apparently, going green.

A number of new funds using the term ESG, sustainable or ethical in their title have been launched this year, including some existing funds which have changed their names and, so it seems, their investment approach.

But several such funds fall short of delivering the ethical or sustainability outcomes their investors might expect. In other words: talking the talk but not walking the walk. The name given to this is ‘green washing’.

This was one of the issues discussed in the Citywire studio by a panel of ESG specialist fund managers.

Around the table were:

  • Kristeen Morrison, co-portfolio manager, Impax Global Opportunities Strategy fund, Impax;
  • David Czupryna, senior client portfolio manager SRI, Candriam;
  • Sarah Norris, co-manger, global equity impact fun, Standard Life Aberdeen;
  • Neville White, head of SRI policy at Eden Tree Investment Management

‘I call these cuppa soup products,’ said White  ‘you take a basic equity product, add boiling water and bang you’ve got a sustainability product.’

He said advisers must drill down deeper into what a fund actually does.

Many funds claim ESG credentials because they adhere to the UN’s 17 Sustainability Goals or ‘SDGs’.

These goals are easy to understand and are often represented in a series of coloured squares.

But using SDG’s as marketing tool got short shrift from the managers.

‘I think that’s actually worse than greenwashing, its rainbow washing,’ said Morrisson.

White said the tools for investors to map SDGs were ‘not fit for purpose’. ‘These are built for governments, not for investment and there is no alignment.’

Watch the full debate about greenwashing, and rainbow washing, in our exclusive video, above.

Share this story

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.
More Content
7277.73 + 47 0.65% 04:35
More Content

Related Fund Managers

Sarah Norris
Sarah Norris
506/661 in Equity - Global (Performance over 1 year) Average Total Return: 3.37%
More Content


Adviser Profile: Nicky Wright and Barry Greening of Clear Financial Advice

Adviser Profile: Nicky Wright and Barry Greening of Clear Financial Advice

Nicky Wright has helped Barry Greening overcome personal adversity to transform Clear Financial Advice into a firm that makes the most of its employees’ varied skills


22 Comments Active Wealth (UK) collapse leaves £500k PI mystery

Active Wealth (UK) collapse leaves £500k PI mystery

Our investigation into the collapse of a firm at the centre of the British Steel pension transfer scandal reveals significant holes in the professional indemnity insurance system