Where does the term "ESG" come from?

What were the key moments in the history of the term ESG?

1999: A speech by Kofi Annan (then-Secretary General of the UN) at the Davos WEF in which he proposed a “Global Compact,” directly urging business leaders to join the UN in promoting principles that would provide a foundation for a sustainable global economy.



2004: Kofi Annan wrote to the CEOs of 55 of the world’s leading financing institutions inviting them to join in a [new] initiative, under the auspices of the Global Compact, titled “Who Cares Wins.’’

Out of this initiative came a report using the new term “ESG”.

ESG was originally coined as a collection of factors to consider in the investment analysis:

The “Who Cares Wins’’ report refers to ESG as being “a joint effort of financial institutions” to “develop guidelines and recommendations on how to better integrate environmental, social and governance issues in asset management, securities brokerage services and associated research functions.”

Read more at: https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/280911488968799581/pdf/113237-WP-WhoCaresWins-2004.pdf

But it turns out that ESG means different things to different people...

You can even find statements such as “this is not very ESG”, or that companies can “be” or “not be” ESG.

Read more at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=632604 ("The Origins and Consequences of the ESG Moniker" by Elizabeth Pollman)