Some critics of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing assert that many funds purporting to offer virtuous investing do little more than overweight technology stocks relative to basic broad market fare.
While many ESG exchange traded funds do feature hefty allocations to the technology sector, tech’s relationship is about much more than fund exposures. It’s about the role tech plays in spurring along sustainability and ESG advancements.
Said another way, there’s a growing intersection between technology and ESG issues, and it carries with it implications for strategies such as the Goldman Sachs JUST U.S. Large Cap Equity ETF (JUST) and the newly minted Goldman Sachs Future Tech Leaders Equity ETF (GTEK).
“How to effectively treat environmental, social and governance issues, collectively known as ‘ESG,’ is shaping up to be one of the most significant agendas of our time. Major commitments are being made in company boardrooms, but the ESG mandate is challenging for many companies to embrace,” according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
One way of looking at the ESG/tech marriage is that technology can advance environmental sustainability, and, when properly monitored and applied, it can be a positive social force. Still, the relationship between ESG and tech, beyond fund weightings, remains largely untapped today. This could mean that big opportunity is ahead for patient investors considering GTEK and JUST.
“The role of the technology industry is underexplored, yet it has outsized potential to influence the mandate. Investors, consumers, technology buyers, end users and suppliers are trying to understand the implications of ESG and what it means for how technology is used. We anticipate the range of discussions around technology and ESG will rapidly become more frequent, specific and strategic,” adds S&P Global.
For its part, GTEK, which allocates 73% of its weight to tech stocks, has some inroads to sustainability because innovative technology concepts, such as fintech and healthcare innovation, can advance equality by making essential healthcare and financial services available to a broader swath of people. Those are just a couple of examples of how tech and ESG can intersect, and investors should prepare for more popping up over time.
“As businesses organize around their ESG commitments, they will increasingly want to know not just that their suppliers themselves take sustainability issues seriously, but that the technologies and services they procure can directly support their own strategies,” concludes S&P Global.
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