According to an investigation by Inclusive Development International and ALTSEAN-Burma, ESG-labeled investment funds have funneled more than $13 billion to corporations with ties to Myanmar’s brutal military regime.
ESG money has continued to flow to these companies following the military’s role in two of the most egregious and well-publicized human rights crimes in recent history: the genocide against the Rohingya and the brutal coup in 2021.
Companies benefitting from these funds, which are marketed as “responsible investment” options, include weapons dealers arming the regime, tech firms serving the military-controlled national police force and others that direct profits and resources to the junta, allowing it to violently crush dissent and maintain its grip on power.
How is that possible? Much of the responsibility lies with firms like MSCI, FTSE Russell and S&P Dow Jones Indices – enormously powerful investment gatekeepers that compile lists of companies they judge to have good Environmental, Social and Governance practices. These lists, or ESG indexes, then serve as suggested portfolios for investors seeking to invest responsibly. Most ESG-labeled funds use ESG indexes as a basis for choosing which companies to invest in.
Companies that get a spot on one of these lists stand to benefit greatly. Corporations doing business with Myanmar’s military regime shouldn’t stand a chance.
Join us in calling on MSCI, FTSE Russell and S&P Dow Jones Indices to exclude companies from their ESG indexes if they refuse to stop facilitating the junta’s human rights abuses.