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China Stirs Unease for ESG Managers Blindsided by Russia’s War

  • Putin’s ties with Xi were on display at Beijing Olympics
  • Zevin manager weighs what to do about firm’s holdings in China
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping meet in Beijing, on Feb. 4, 2022. 

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping meet in Beijing, on Feb. 4, 2022. 

Photographer: Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

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Caught flat-footed by Russia’s war on Ukraine, fund managers who get paid to avoid environmental, social and governance risks have started to look at China with a fresh sense of unease. 

Their exposure to China is huge. Pure ESG funds domiciled just in Europe have about $130 billion invested in China assets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A further $160 billion is held by European-based funds that have screened for ESG-related hazards.