2023 Conference

The Center for Professional Ethics and Social Responsibility hosted its first annual conference on April 21, 2023

ESG: Promising Framework or Problematic Idea?

ESG, or Environmental-Social-Governance, has been framed as a responsible approach to investing and corporate management. A key claim is that ESG promotes good corporate conduct and higher profits; in other words, it is good for society and good for business. ESG has gained more and more traction in the business world, but it has also drawn criticism. Progressive critics accuse ESG investment funds and companies of making exaggerated claims and “greenwashing,” while conservatives in state governments have banned public pension funds from participating in ESG investing and condemned ESG as “woke capitalism.” The Securities and Exchange Commission has worked to more strictly scrutinize and regulate ESG and ESG-related issues.

This conference aimed to assess the state of the ESG framework and the claims that its advocates and critics have made about it.

Conference Speakers:

“On the SEC Mandate for ESG Disclosures,” Noor Hashim (Marymount University)

“The Garbage in the ESG Data,” Danielle Warren (Rutgers University), Ushma Pandya (Think Zero), and Jaclyn Didonato (Rutgers University)

ESG Panel Discussion: Greg Lebedev (Center for International Private Enterprise) and Jeff Dennis (Department of Energy)

“Free Market Virtue: On the Feasibility of Social Justice Investment Standards,” Caleb Bernacchio (California State University-Monterey Bay) and Robert Couch (Earlham College)

“The Necessity of Ethics and the Limits of ESG,” Brian Berkey (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)