11 Aug 2023

"Companies with good ESG scores pollute as much as low-rated rivals". The finding holds true even when researchers looked only at the environmental part of the metric.

Companies rated highly on widely accepted environmental, social and governance metrics pollute just as much as lowly rated companies, research has found. This perverse lack of correlation holds even if companies’ carbon intensity — their carbon emissions per unit of revenue or market capitalisation — is compared purely to their environmental rating, according to Scientific Beta, an index provider and consultancy. “ESG ratings have little to no relation to carbon intensity, even when considering only the environmental pillar of these ratings,” said Felix Goltz, research director at Scientific Beta. “It doesn’t seem that people have actually looked at [the correlations]. They are surprisingly low.” “The carbon intensity reduction of green [ie low carbon intensity] portfolios can be effectively cancelled out by adding ESG objectives.” The findings come amid strong demand for ESG investment, with “sustainable” funds globally attracting net inflows of $49bn in the first half of this year, according to Morningstar, while the rest of the fund industry saw outflows of $9bn. Goltz and his colleagues looked at 25 different ESG scores from three major providers: Moody’s, MSCI and Refinitiv. They found that 92 per cent of the reduction in carbon intensity that investors gain by solely weighting stocks for their carbon intensity is lost when ESG scores are added as a partial weight determinant. Even just using environmental scores, rather than the whole panoply of ESG, “leads to a substantial deterioration in green performance”, they found. Worse still, mixing social or governance ratings with carbon intensity typically creates portfolios than are less green than the comparable market capitalisation-weighted index, the researchers noted. “On average, social and governance scores more than completely reversed the carbon reduction objective,” Goltz said. He offered a simple explanation for this, namely that “the correlation between ESG scores and carbon intensity is close to zero [at 4 per cent]. The two objectives are unrelated and are therefore hard for investors to simultaneously achieve.” “It can very well be that a high-emitting firm is very good at governance or employee satisfaction. There is no strong relationship between employee satisfaction or any of these things and carbon intensity,” Goltz argued. Source: FT


This marketing document has been issued by Bank Syz Ltd. It is not intended for distribution to, publication, provision or use by individuals or legal entities that are citizens of or reside in a state, country or jurisdiction in which applicable laws and regulations prohibit its distribution, publication, provision or use. It is not directed to any person or entity to whom it would be illegal to send such marketing material. This document is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer, solicitation or recommendation for the subscription, purchase, sale or safekeeping of any security or financial instrument or for the engagement in any other transaction, as the provision of any investment advice or service, or as a contractual document. Nothing in this document constitutes an investment, legal, tax or accounting advice or a representation that any investment or strategy is suitable or appropriate for an investor's particular and individual circumstances, nor does it constitute a personalized investment advice for any investor. This document reflects the information, opinions and comments of Bank Syz Ltd. as of the date of its publication, which are subject to change without notice. The opinions and comments of the authors in this document reflect their current views and may not coincide with those of other Syz Group entities or third parties, which may have reached different conclusions. The market valuations, terms and calculations contained herein are estimates only. The information provided comes from sources deemed reliable, but Bank Syz Ltd. does not guarantee its completeness, accuracy, reliability and actuality. Past performance gives no indication of nor guarantees current or future results. Bank Syz Ltd. accepts no liability for any loss arising from the use of this document.

Read More

Straight from the Desk

Syz the moment

Live feeds, charts, breaking stories, all day long.

Thinking out loud

Sign up for our weekly email highlighting the most popular posts.

Follow us

Thinking out loud

Investing with intelligence

Our latest research, commentary and market outlooks