Al Gore’s ‘eco-friendly’ investment firm owns shares in polluting companies: report
A recent analysis by Bloomberg News found that Generation’s Global Equity fund, which numbers a total of 42 companies, includes 18 firms which emitted increasingly more greenhouse gases annually between 2015 and 2021. Bloomberg ranked Generation, which has $40.4 billion worth of assets under its management, as among the companies that owned the greatest share of greenhouse gas-emitting firms when compared to other funds that placed a priority on so-called ESG — environmental, social and governance — investing.
By Ariel Zilber
Gore, whose Oscar-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth” cemented his status as the most prominent doomsayer on climate change, chairs the London-based Generation Investment Management, which touts a “stated emphasis on sustainable investment options.”
But a recent analysis by Bloomberg News found that Generation’s Global Equity fund, which numbers a total of 42 companies, includes 18 firms which emitted increasingly more greenhouse gases annually between 2015 and 2021.
Bloomberg ranked Generation, which has $40.4 billion worth of assets under its management, as among the companies that owned the greatest share of greenhouse gas-emitting firms when compared to other funds that placed a priority on so-called ESG — environmental, social and governance — investing.
The push into ESG has become a political hot potato. Republican politicians have hit out at firms such as BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, for touting ESG.
In October, several Republican state treasurers withdrew a total of $1 billion from BlackRock accounts in protest of its commitment to ESG.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott banned state investments in businesses that shunned oil and gas firms. Another Republican head of state, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, imposed a similar measure.
The Post has sought comment from Generation.
On the company’s website, Generation bils itself as a “mission-led firm.”
“We seek transformational change to drive to a net zero, prosperous, equitable, healthy and safe society,” the company states on its site.
In determining which companies to invest in, Generation, which employs around 110 workers, examines factors such as the size of the firm’s carbon footprint and the diversity of its corporate board, including female representation.
Generation’s Global Equity fund includes blue-chip firms such as Adidas, Microsoft, Amazon, Carlisle and Charles Schwab.
Microsoft is one company that has seen its greenhouse gas emissions increase, according to Bloomberg News.
Becton Dickinson & Co, a medical device maker listed in Generation’s Global Equity fund, has seen its carbon footprint grow by more than 20% between 2015 and 2021, according to Bloomberg’s analysis.
Amazon, the e-commerce goliath, is the biggest climate culprit. The Seattle-based giant only began releasing data about the amount of greenhouse gas it emits in 2019.
In 2021, as Amazon’s profits soared during the pandemic, so did the tonnage of greenhouse gases that it released into the air, according to the company’s own sustainability report. That year, Amazon’s carbon footprint grew by one-fifth.
Generation recently announced a shit in investment priorities. The firm sold off some of its holdings in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba while scooping up an additional 2.2 million shares in US chip manufacturer Texas Instruments, according to SEC filings.
Generation also sold more than 774,000 shares of Alibaba in the fourth quarter of last year, according to filings cited by Barron’s.
The firm more than quintupled its investment in Texas Instruments, SEC filings show. Generation now owns a total of 2.7 million shares of the US-based semiconductor manufacturer.
Gore’s firm also appears to be pivoting away from Asia due to geopolitical tensions along the Taiwan Strait.
Generation sold off stakes in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world’s largest contact chip maker.
By the end of the third quarter, Generation owned more than 326,000 shares of TSM. But the firm sold them off by the end of the fourth quarter, according to SEC filings.