The New StatesmanThe New Statesman

The net zero asset managers “doubling down” on oil and gas

By Polly Bindman

22 May 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Asset managers are being accused of "greenwashing" by investing in fossil fuels while claiming to support climate goals. The New Statesman reports on the ongoing "culture war" among investors.

Over the past few months, a culture war has engulfed the investment community. As part of a growing backlash against environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing – which takes into account the environmental or social externalities of a business – a group of anti-ESG proponents, mainly from the US and with ties to the Republican Party, have doubled down on the idea that asset managers’ sole mandate should be to generate the greatest returns for their clients and not be led by ethical considerations. 

However others – including the think tank Carbon Tracker, which recently published a report revealing that the world’s largest 90 asset managers currently hold $376bn (£300bn) of investments in 15 oil and gas majors – argue that investors’ inability to transition their portfolios away from fossil fuels amounts to a “mainstream financial risk”.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content