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What are ESG Funds? Should You Invest in Them?

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Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) funds have garnered increasing attention in the realm of sustainable investing, as investors prioritise ethical and socially responsible investment opportunities. The idea here is to encourage companies that are making environmentally conscious decisions, follow ethical business practices, focus on corporate social responsibility alongside benefitting from their growth potential.

This article explores the concept of ESG funds, their growing importance in the investment landscape and whether they warrant consideration in your investment portfolio.

  • Table of contents
  1. Growing importance of ESG funds
  2. Does ESG investing offer any benefits?
  3. ESG funds in the Indian landscape

Growing importance of ESG funds

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. It's about looking at companies that care about three important things:

  • E stands for environmental – These are companies that try not to harm the environment. They work to reduce pollution, use resources wisely, and have good waste management.
  • S stands for social – These are companies that help society and their workers. They promote things like equality between men and women, have good benefits for their employees, and support social causes.
  • G stands for governance – This is about how well a company follows the rules. Companies with good governance follow laws, act ethically, have ways for employees to report problems, and take action against wrongdoing.

The rise of ESG funds can be related to more people wanting to invest in companies that care about the environment and society and follow the rules. This is because of:

  • Investor demand – Many investors, especially young people and those who care about social issues want to invest in companies that care about the environment and act responsibly.
  • Risk management – Looking at ESG factors can help investors avoid risks related to things like environmental problems, social controversies, and bad governance. Companies with good ESG practices are usually better at handling challenges and staying strong even when things get tough.
  • Regulatory pressure – Governments and regulators are starting to ask companies to be more transparent about their ESG practices. Companies that don't pay attention to these issues might get in trouble with the law or damage their reputation. This makes ESG factors important for investors to consider.

Does ESG investing offer any benefits?

ESG investing offers several potential benefits for investors:

  • Sustainable impact – ESG funds enable investors to support companies that prioritize sustainability practices, such as reducing carbon emissions, promoting diversity and inclusion, and fostering ethical governance.
  • Enhanced risk-adjusted returns – Studies have shown that companies with strong ESG performance tend to exhibit better risk-adjusted returns over the long term. By considering ESG factors in investment analysis, investors can potentially identify companies with resilient business models, competitive advantages and effective risk management practices.
  • Long-term value creation – Following sustainability principles can help companies come up with new ideas, work more efficiently, and create value that lasts a long time. Companies that focus on ESG can save money, build a better reputation, and find new chances to grow. This can make shareholders happy and help the company grow steadily over time.

ESG funds in the Indian landscape

In India, more people are becoming aware of sustainability issues and the importance of responsible business practices. Hence, investments in ESG funds are gaining traction. Many mutual fund companies in India have started offering ESG-focused funds for environmentally conscious investors who want to support companies that care about the planet, society, and good governance.

ESG funds grade companies based on research provided by prominent rating firms. These firms review company metrics such as annual reports, sustainability measures, board structure, compensation, finances etc. to generate an ESG score. The higher the score, the better a company’s ESG rating.

Although ESG investing is still a recent phenomenon in India, the increasing interest in responsible investing shows that ESG funds may soon gain importance in shaping the country's investment choices.


ESG funds offer a suitable investment option for investors who want to support environmental, social, and governance concerns. By including sustainability principles in their investment decisions, ESG funds can create positive change while still aiming for a good financial return potential. Though ESG investing has its challenges, its increasing significance shows a wider move towards responsible investing that focuses on creating lasting value and benefiting society.


What are the pros and cons of ESG funds?
Pros: ESG funds promote sustainable impact, offer potential for enhanced risk-adjusted returns, and drive long-term value creation.
Cons: ESG investing may involve higher fees, limited investment options, and challenges in defining and measuring ESG criteria consistently across companies.

How are ESG funds taxed?
ESG funds are taxed similarly to other equity oriented mutual funds. Short-term capital gains (investments held for less than one year) are taxed at 15% while long-term capital gains (investments held for more than one year) are taxed at 10% beyond the Rs. 1 lakh annual exemption limit.

Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.
This document should not be treated as endorsement of the views/opinions or as investment advice. This document should not be construed as a research report or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. This document is for information purpose only and should not be construed as a promise on minimum returns or safeguard of capital. This document alone is not sufficient and should not be used for the development or implementation of an investment strategy. The recipient should note and understand that the information provided above may not contain all the material aspects relevant for making an investment decision. Investors are advised to consult their own investment advisor before making any investment decision in light of their risk appetite, investment goals and horizon. This information is subject to change without any prior notice.