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Only 1 in 5 people know what ESG investing means. Do you?

By Mike Narouei, Content Producer at Boring Money

10 Oct, 2019

ESG: three little letters having a BIG impact on investors and the world at large. But why does nobody know about it yet?

On the face of it, ESG is just another impenetrable financial acronym – a vowel and two consonants that only mean something to those in the know. But what lies beneath could change the world…

What does ESG stand for? We asked the audience

We surveyed over 2,000 UK consumers, asking what they think ‘ESG’ stands for. Only 1 in 5 people knew (or correctly guessed) the answer.

Here are the options we gave them… which do you think it is?

  1. Ethically Sourced Goods

  2. Equities, Shares and Gifting

  3. Executive Salary Guidance

  4. Environmental, Social and Governance

  5. Ethnic Social Guidelines

Keep scrolling for the answer!

If you went for number 1, ‘Ethically Sourced Goods’, you picked the same as 53% of the people we asked.

They were all wrong.

ESG actually stands for ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’

What does that have to do with investing? In short, it’s about putting your money where your mouth is – only investing in companies with sustainable, long-term working practices that avoid causing harm. These practices are measured according to their environmental impact, social responsibilities and corporate governance.

Would Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg have harsh words for the company you’re investing in? Then it probably isn’t ticking the ‘Environmental’ box.

Is that company also forcing people to work unfair hours, hiring nimble-fingered 8-year-old seamstresses, or using customer data for nefarious deeds? Then don’t expect a good ‘Social’ score.

And, finally, is that company paying excessive bonuses to a board of homogenous megalomaniacs (here’s looking at you, Thomas Cook)? If yes, then ‘Governance’ needs some work.

We’ve gone over the makeup of ESG in more detail on our Sustainable Savers ( pages. Check them out for guides, stories and suggestions of what to invest in.