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Mark Gilbert

Your Face Is the Next Frontier in ESG Investing

Asset managers are putting pressure on tech firms over their implementation of facial recognition software. 

Activist Darya Kozlova protests against facial recognition in Moscow.

Activist Darya Kozlova protests against facial recognition in Moscow.

Photographer: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP

After successfully persuading the energy industry to curb its climate impact, the fund management world is turning its attention to reining in tech. But there’s a danger that by trying to cover too many non-financial bases, investors will end up weakening their clout. 

Their primary focus is on facial recognition technology, which is developing rapidly both as a law enforcement tool for governments and in applications for companies wanting to target individual customers. How these software systems are used — or misused — looks set to become the next pressure point for investors seeking to allocate capital in line with environmental, social and governance standards.