Wind Turbines

Exit Stage Right: Investors Are Bailing on Green Funds

DCNF(DCNF)—Investors are fading on green energy investment funds due to worries about the sector’s ability to grow and the possible return of former President Donald Trump to the White House, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing analysis conducted by a firm called LSEG Lipper.

Funds that invest specifically in green energy companies and products around the world saw investment outflows totaling $4.8 billion during the first quarter of 2024, the largest amount in a single quarter on record, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, the S&P Global Clean Energy Index has tanked by about 10 percentage points this year while the S&P 500 Energy Index — a fund that features many oil and gas companies — is up by more than 16% this year so far.

“This is what Consumers’ Research has been warning about from the very beginning. The idea that the rush into [Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG)] and green investing would be good for investors and shareholders was always a lie,” Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Now, with higher interest rates and a completely different energy paradigm, the folly of these boondoggles is becoming apparent.”

Many large financial institutions in the U.S. have embraced ESG investing in recent years, characterizing it as a practice that allows for investors to profit while also helping to effectuate positive societal changes. Opponents like Hild have countered that the strategy violates the fiduciary duty that institutions have to their investors by injecting politicized considerations into financial decision-making that ought to be entirely apolitical.

Now, some of the leading asset managers in the world, such as BlackRock and State Street, are under investigation by the House Judiciary Committee for their ESG practices, while State Street and JP Morgan’s asset management arm have withdrawn from Climate Action 100+, a coalition that pushes companies to slash emissions and adopt other corporate climate policies.

Globally, some of the green funds that saw the biggest capital outflows in the first quarter of 2024 include Handelsbanken Hallbar Energi, a Swedish fund that lost $458 million of investment, and the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF, which lost $335 million, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, the Ninety One Global Environment Fund lost $226 million of investment in the first quarter.

The apparent downturn in investor confidence and interest in green energy funds appears to be happening despite the Biden administration’s push to advance its massive climate agenda and similarly costly initiatives undertaken by European states like Germany. Governments like those of the U.S. and Germany have spent vast sums of money to subsidize technologies like wind and solar power generation, but green energy has yet to displace fossil fuels as the lifeblood of the world’s developed economies.

If investor interest in green energy funds and products continues to dissipate, it is unlikely that international climate goals established or reaffirmed at 2023’s United Nations climate summit in Dubai will be met, according to Reuters.

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