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War Sows Client Doubts on Worth of ESG, JPMorgan Analyst Says

  • ESG facing pivotal moment, co-head of ESG equity research says
  • War puts spotlight on weapons and jeopardizes climate agenda
A Ukrainian serviceman walks between debris inside a shopping mall northwest of Kyiv on March 21.

A Ukrainian serviceman walks between debris inside a shopping mall northwest of Kyiv on March 21.

Photographer: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images

The arrival of war in Europe has some investment clients questioning whether money they’ve put toward environmental, social and governance goals is being well spent, according to the co-head of ESG equity research at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “pivotal” event not just for geopolitics, but also for the multitrillion dollar ESG investing industry, said Jean-Xavier Hecker, JPMorgan’s co-head of ESG equity research in Paris. He says some ESG investors are starting to look at stocks that have done well because of the war, such as defense, and are wondering how much longer they’re willing to forgo those returns.