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Nir Kaissar

ESG Defies Wall Street’s Efforts to Package It Neatly

The investment strategy is becoming harder to define and explain, which makes it increasingly difficult to deliver in a fund.

Cookie-cutter funds are difficult for ESG.

Cookie-cutter funds are difficult for ESG.

Photographer: Yelim Lee/AFP/Getty Images


Wall Street is trying to bottle ESG, but ESG has other ideas.

Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds based on environmental, social and governance attributes have gathered a lot of money recently. They took in $51 billion in 2020, $3 billion more than during the previous 11 years combined, according to Morningstar. This year’s flows are even bigger, $56 billion through September.