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Mark Gilbert

Virtuous Investing Finally Starts to Pay Off

Being a socially responsible investor used to come at a cost. No more.

On the trading floor.

On the trading floor.

Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

For investors trying to take into account environmental, social and governance concerns, the best response seems to have been to adopt a version of St. Augustine’s prayer: “Oh Lord, make my strategy pure, but not too quickly.” For whenever the issue of socially responsible stock-picking arises, so too does the suspicion that doing good comes at a price.

A study published this week by Amundi SA, Europe’s biggest money manager with 1.5 trillion euros ($1.7 trillion) of assets, suggests that ESG’s first movers have been subject to a disadvantage, but the tide is turning in favor of the virtuous.