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John Authers

ESG Is Alive and Well. Just Call It Protectionism

Even as a market backlash against socially responsible investing grows, it has let the genie out of the bottle -- giving government a potentially dangerous blueprint to unpick globalization.

Larry Fink, the world’s chief ESG-vangelist.

Larry Fink, the world’s chief ESG-vangelist.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

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ESG is in trouble. For proof, look no further than the Bloomberg Opinion headline “The Virtue Bubble Is About to Burst. Good Riddance.” that appeared earlier this week over an excellent piece by Allison Schrager; or to the comments in an interview with David Westin on Bloomberg TV by Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock Inc. and the world’s chief ESG-vangelist, that he doesn’t want the private sector to be “environmental police”; or the news that the head of Deutsche Bank AG’s DWS fund management unit had been toppled after a police raid looking into alleged “greenwashing”; or the suspension of the head of responsible investing at HSBC Asset Management, my old colleague Stuart Kirk, after he spoke not wisely but too well about how “climate risk is not a risk we need to worry about”; or the furious reaction of Elon Musk to the news that S&P Global no longer rated his Tesla Inc. as an ESG stock.