Myanmar: Study finds billions of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment is funding the military
"Myanmar ESG Files: How “responsible investment” is enabling a military dictatorship", 9 March 2022
The $40 trillion environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment industry promises to align your money with your values – and make the world a better place. But an investigation by Inclusive Development International reveals that ESG-labeled funds have funneled billions into companies arming, funding and legitimizing the Myanmar military, the perpetrator of the Rohingya genocide and a violent crackdown on the country’s pro-democracy movement.
Despite these lofty promises, 344 ESG-labeled funds, managed by the largest investment firms in the world, hold shares in corporations that are enabling genocide and crimes against humanity in Myanmar. These companies include:
- Arms makers such as the Indian firm Bharat Electronics, which has supplied weapons, radar systems and communications technology to the Myanmar military, before and after the coup; and Elbit Systems, an Israeli defense company that has sold military-grade surveillance drones and parts to the military.
- Communications and technology companies such as Axiata Group of Malaysia, which has a network of mobile towers used by the military; and the U.S. tech firm Cloudflare, which provides website hosting services for the military-controlled Ministry of Home Affairs and the national police force.
- The U.S. social media platform Facebook, which played a “determining role” in fomenting hate speech that fueled the Rohingya genocide, according to the head of a UN fact-finding mission.
- Industrial conglomerates such as POSCO of South Korea, TotalEnergies of France and Chevron of the United States, which have generated billions of dollars in revenue for the military through joint ventures and other business relationships. (TotalEnergies and Chevron recently announced they will exit these ventures but have not yet done so.)