The Conversation - How to improve sustainability investing

+ research on arming teachers; the Catholic Church and exorcism ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

If you pay attention to investing, you’ve probably seen ESG funds and ratings. About one-third of all investments under management right now use these sustainability criteria, including a lot of pension funds. ESG ratings look at companies’ performance on environmental, social and governance issues on the theory that companies that manage those issues well are well managed overall so are likely to make money for investors.

But a good ESG rating doesn’t necessarily mean a company is a good steward of the environment. Managers of the S&P 500 ESG Index set off a roiling debate over the value of ESG ratings last week when they dropped electric vehicle maker Tesla from their index while keeping the oil giant Exxon. A few days later, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose new ESG disclosure rules.

Tom Lyon, a business economics professor at the University of Michigan, explains what happened and offers three ideas for how to make ESG investments better reflect investors’ expectations.

This week we also liked articles about how “-gate” became attached to so many scandals, the abortion-related privacy risks from phones and research on arming teachers with guns.

Stacy Morford

Environment + Climate Editor

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, shown at an electric vehicle factory, called ESG ratings ‘a scam’ after an index dropped Tesla. Maja Hitij/Getty Images

How a sustainability index can keep Exxon but drop Tesla – and 3 ways to fix ESG ratings to meet investors’ expectations

Tom Lyon, University of Michigan

Sustainable investing’s credibility took a hit when the S&P 500 ESG index dropped the electric vehicle-maker but kept the oil giant. The SEC is now considering new disclosure rules.

A view of the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

How ‘gate’ became the syllable of scandal

Roger J. Kreuz, University of Memphis

Many of the coinages fail to differentiate the mundane from the momentous. Has the suffix’s overuse rendered it essentially meaningless?

Where you’ve been and who you’ve interacted with are not difficult for governments and corporations to find out. Maskot via Getty Images

Impending demise of Roe v. Wade puts a spotlight on a major privacy risk: Your phone reveals more about you than you think

Susan Landau, Tufts University

Even a burner phone paid for with cash can reveal your identity and where you’ve been. A data privacy expert explains.

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