Al Gore’s hypocrisy is well known: consuming ten times the average household’s electricity in his Tennessee mansion, buying a beachfront mansion in California while warning of sea level rise, flying in private jets while hectoring us about our carbon footprint, etc.
Turns out Gore’s investment fund, Generation Investment Management, dedicated to “sustainable” investing (ESG before it was the cool term) is in on the con, too. Bloomberg reports:
Espousing a mantra of “sustainable capitalism,” Generation says it aims to invest in businesses that support “an equitable, healthy and safe society” and minimize their contribution to global warming. Over time, it became one of the largest such firms, managing a peak $39 billion in 2021 before assets dropped to $30 billion last year. . . Its biggest fund slumped 28%—similar to competing funds—as markets reeled from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supply chain shocks and inflation. . .
There’s another, potentially more consequential issue: Despite Generation’s focus on environmental, social and governance—or ESG—factors, companies that make up almost half the holdings of its largest, $26.4 billion fund have increased their planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.
Bloomberg sensibly asks:
A recent report from researcher Morningstar Inc. ranked Generation highly among the funds most committed to sustainability. But last year’s losses, along with the growing carbon footprint of some of Generation’s holdings, highlight just how messy sustainable investing can be—and raise an uncomfortable question: If Gore and his partners struggle to deliver on lofty environmental and financial goals, can anyone?
A Bloomberg News analysis of emissions data for Generation’s investments paints a more complex picture. Its Global Equity fund held 42 companies at the end of last year. For each of them, Bloomberg examined the emissions those businesses reported annually from 2015 to 2021. Eighteen of the companies, accounting for 46% of the fund’s assets, showed increases from the first year of available data to the last. That was the highest of a dozen sustainable investment funds studied.