July 23, 2018

Activism: Weaponizing ESG

Does your company think ESG is for tree-huggers?  You’d better recalibrate fast, because this recent FT article says activists are weaponizing it:

One activist investor, who declined to be named, says many activists know that using ESG will help round up wider support from pension funds and traditional asset managers, but also believe there is investor demand. “[ESG in activist investing] has increased in recent years, because a lot of investors are seeing that ESG funds are doing well and have had success in the market.”

Jana is in the process of setting up a specialist activist fund with an ESG focus, which is expected to launch later this year. It has added staff to help with its push into ESG, including Dan Hanson, a former manager of socially responsible funds at BlackRock, and Pulkit Agarwal, who previously worked at the International Finance Corporation in India, according to Reuters.

The article says that other big name activists – including Trian Partners, Blue Harbour, Red Mountain Capital & ValueAct, are also looking to capitalize on investor demand for ESG focused investments.

John Jenkins