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Facebook removed from ethical ETF

Tuesday, March 27th 2018, 6:10PM 1 Comment

Facebook has been dropped from an ethical investment fund amid concerns about its data breach.

BetaShares said Facebook had been removed from the Global Sustainability Leaders ETF and the fund it was designed to track.

The responsible investment committee said it had one of the most rigorous index screening processes to respond to responsible investment concerns.

“Facebook has historically qualified for inclusion in the Fund’s index on the basis of its strong global leadership on carbon emission metrics as well as its responsible advertising and other policies,” BetaShares said.

“However the company has in recent times been the subject of a number of controversies and reputational issues, which the RIC has been monitoring on an ongoing basis.”

It said that was not limited to Cambridge Analytica’s use of personal data from 50 million Facebook users who did not agree to the use of their data. That incident knocked about US$90 billion ($123b) off Facebook’s market value.

“The combination of the recent serious data breach,which has also raised governance-related issues given that it appears the company was aware of the breach as far back as 2015,  with other previously identified issues has caused the [committee] to determine that Facebook is no longer eligible for continued inclusion in the index.”

Tags: ETFs responsible investing

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Comments from our readers

On 29 March 2018 at 9:48 am Paul Brownsey said:
On an ESG scoring basis, Facebook has always had a really terrible governance rating, currently at just 39/100 as measured by Sustainalytics. It was never in our responsible fund at Pathfinder simply because the governance score was so low. There is plenty of evidence to show that companies with low measured governance standards are more prone to business disrupting events.

A study by Bank of America shows that if you only owned companies with ESG scores above market average, then you would have avoided 15 of the 17 US bankruptcies between 2008 and 2015.

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