*Article by Ben Zeisloft, published on The Daily Wire on 06/10/2022
As Environmental, Science, and Governance (ESG) investing takes Western financial markets by storm, an investment firm has produced an alternative rating system that draws from biblical principles.
By adopting ESG goals, companies commit themselves to pursue green energy adoption, appointing a certain number of racial minorities to serve as executives, or otherwise mingling profitability with progressive politics. In many cases, efforts to meet ESG goals — such as funding abortions for employees in the name of reproductive justice — can overtly conflict with Christian values, threatening the consciences of investors and stockholders.
Altum Faithful Investing, a Spanish firm that oversees $7 billion in client assets, provided The Daily Wire with a rating system by which it examined publicly traded American and European companies according to their alignment with Christian principles. The firm rates companies based on their promotion of human dignity, family, human life, and their protection of creation.
The firm contends that investors can achieve similar — if not greater — returns by directing their capital toward companies that do not oppose Christian principles, particularly those professed by the Roman Catholic Church.
Altum’s analysis of dozens of companies in the S&P 500 revealed that over the course of five years, firms “non-compliant” with Christian values earned slightly higher returns than “compliant” firms — 20.7% and 19%, respectively. Yet in another analysis of companies in the Eurostoxx 60, “compliant” firms exceeded “non-compliant” firms over the five-year horizon — 21.1% and 8.6%, respectively. Individual company analyses are available on a mobile app created by Altum.
Altum founder Borja Barragan told The Daily Wire that the secular approach to ESG often “becomes totalitarian and loses the focus on the human person and on freedom in favor of other ideologies.”
When evaluating the American companies, Altum concluded that 35 firms violated the promotion of human dignity requirement. For example, many supported the Equality Act — a piece of legislation that seeks to enshrine sexual orientation and gender identity into civil rights law. Similarly, 47 violated the promotion of life requirement through involvement with products linked to abortion, the use of human embryonic stem cells in research, and sending donations to entities providing abortion and contraceptives.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a former pharmaceutical executive who recently launched an anti-woke asset management company, told The Daily Wire that whether or not Altum’s strategy is ultimately successful, the creation of the rating system is “welcome news” because it attempts to introduce “greater diversity of thought” into the capital markets.
“Right now, ESG wields an ideological monopoly in the asset management industry — especially in Europe,” Ramaswamy said. “It’s encouraging to see brave thinkers on the other side of the pond challenging the prevailing orthodoxy.”
An exclusive Daily Wire poll conducted by Echelon Insights indicated last month that there is likely a desire among American investors for more opportunities apart from conventional ESG investing. Respondents recognized that ESG tends to promote “more liberal positions” than “more conservative positions.” While 50% believe the former and 16% believe the latter, only 21% believe that ESG investing is neutral.
Barragan explained that there has indeed been significant interest in his investment approach. “In just one week we received more than 100 phone calls from both sides of the Atlantic ocean,” he told The Daily Wire.
He concluded that ESG investing “seems to be insufficient for investors willing to invest with integrity to their faith,” that investment driven by conscience is “an unattended need that investors are demanding from banks and asset managers,” and that faith-driven investment “without sacrificing performance” is possible.