How to Make the ‘S’ in ESG More Relevant

By Karen Petrou

Environment, social and governance investing is all the rage, but most all investment goes into the “E” and, to a lesser extent, the “G” and not the “S.” We neglect social-welfare investment at grave risk and for no good reason. But there is a way to quickly change this by making ESG meaningful for an urgent social good: speeding treatment and even cure for diseases and disability. Even before the pandemic, biomedical research was advancing too slowly and often without regard to critical, unmet needs. Covid-19 has seriously delayed promising research across the spectrum of disease and disability. In just one case, a major study finds that the pandemic threatens “the viability of cancer research as a whole.” New financial instruments backed, at least at first, by a federal guarantee can reverse this disastrous trend.