Do ESG Mutual Funds Deliver on Their Promises?
Corporations have received growing criticism for their role in climate change, perpetuating racial and gender inequality, and other pressing social issues. In response, shareholders are increasingly focusing on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria in selecting investments, and asset managers are responding by offering a growing number of ESG mutual funds. But are these funds giving investors what they promise? This Article provides a unique picture of the current ESG environment with an eye to informing regulatory policy. It finds that ESG funds offer their investors increased ESG exposure, vote their shares differently from non-ESG funds, and are more supportive of ESG principles; and that they do so without increasing costs or reducing returns.