September 5, 2020 4:15 - 5:45
Investment funds need to return money to their investors. However, by what means and with what rates of return is increasingly debated. Impact investments and other types of environmental, social or corporate governance (ESG) compliant investments have grown consistently over the last years to an estimated 20 trillion USD. This development is underscored by institutional investors making bold decisions. In March 2019 Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund announced that it would disinvest from oil and gas exploration. In August 2019 over 180 CEOs from the American Business Roundtable rejected the idea that maximising shareholder value was their main goal. These moves show that investors are willing to ‘decarbonise’ their portfolios. But to what extent can investment and morality go hand in hand? More importantly, how can this newly found consciousness for ethics and sustainability be squared with on-the-ground investment decisions that emphasise scalability and exponential growth? Blitz-scaling, or setting companies up for ‘growth on steroids, is ‘a la mode’.