A survey finds them split over whether environmental, social and governance investments perform better or the same as others.

Investors are divided about the value of environmental, social and governance-minded investing, according to a survey by alternative asset management firm Dynamo Software. Respondents to the poll were almost evenly split on whether ESG-focused investments perform better (45%) or the same (44%) as non-ESG investments, with 11% saying they perform worse.

The global survey queried limited partners and general partners in investment funds, which included many asset allocators and managers, about all kinds of investments. The Dynamo report attributed the split to a lack of extensive metrics to assess an investment’s ESG bona fides.

While many ratings exist to assess how funds’ potential portfolio companies stack up as ESG-friendly, LPs and GPs are not satisfied with the raters’ lack of detail. Danielle Pepin, Dynamo’s vice president of product, explains in an interview that ESG ratings usually fail to explain how companies have changed over time, say, by tracking their history of carbon emissions. Another shortcoming: A company’s strong environmental record might overshadow its poor social history, such as treating its employees poorly.

This comes at a time when Detroit automakers are cutting back on producing electric vehicles, offshore wind power developers are canceling or delaying projects, and home solar panels sales are down. The largest ESG exchange-traded fund, which serves as an ESG benchmark, the iShares MSCI EAFE Growth ETF, is up 8.6% this year, trailing the S&P 500 (ahead 15.9%)

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