The green finance craze is part of the same hollow crusade. Over the weekend, it emerged that Barclays has been using the “sustainable finance” badge to provide major funding to Shell. Laughably, the bank has classified a $10bn (£7.8bn) revolving credit facility it provided to Shell as “social and environmental financing”.
Barclays counted its share of the loan towards a target to deliver $150bn in social and environmental financing, according to analysis of the bank’s loan classification framework by this newspaper. It will do little to counter growing concern among regulators and ministers about corporate “greenwashing”. Our energy needs must be funded, but such mislabelling can only erode trust in the financial system.
It’s time to ask whether the ESG movement is little more than a con, and a potentially dangerous one at that.
Even now, 18 months after Moscow’s tanks rolled over the Ukrainian border, and with an estimated 40,000 Ukrainian civilians and around 20,000 Ukrainian military personnel dead, the ESG mavens continue to search for their moral compasses.
When the war erupted, it was widely accepted that the West had a duty to help defend a European neighbour in the face of an unjust and unprovoked act of aggression at the hands of a more powerful and menacing neighbour.
European states and the US scrambled to provide vital military aid. Berlin was quick to send 1,000 anti-tank grenade launchers and 500 Stinger missiles to Kyiv, in a major about-turn from a long-standing policy of refusing to export weapons to conflict zones.
Similarly, for the first time in its history, the European Union agreed to provide military help to a country under attack. Russia’s actions prompted some hurried soul-searching among western leaders.