The Olive Tranche — Definitions and distractions in ESG
- Jack David
Welcome to The Olive Tranche. In this new 9fin feature we’ll be attempting to steer a course through the choppy waters of ESG as it relates to LevFin. The intention is to encourage open discussion on some of the stickier topics. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your thoughts.
There has been a hell of lot of energy used (or, burned) debating whether or not we stop using the acronym of ESG. It's not just the anti-ESG movement calling for ESG to be dropped — I've heard companies with ESG in their name declaring it’s outdated and we should move on from it.
But is this a conversation worth having, or is it a distraction from the issues it’s trying to solve?
The term ESG was first coined in 2005 in the Freshfields report, a legal framework written by law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and the United Nations. The report asked a question about fiduciary responsibility: “Are the best interests of savers only to be defined as their financial interest? If so, in respect to which horizon?” pointing to the risk of the tragedy of the horizon.