New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

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Jeff Albertson
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New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by Jeff Albertson » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:22 am

Vanguard launched two new environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds on Tuesday.
Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF (ESGV)
Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF (VSGX)

filing announcement (6-27-18) https://pressroom.vanguard.com/news/Pre ... 72018.html
Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF will seek to track the FTSE US All Cap Choice Index, a market-cap weighted benchmark comprising large-, mid-, and small-cap U.S. stocks screened on specific environmental, social, and governance criteria. Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF’s target benchmark will be the FTSE Global All Cap ex US Choice Index, a market-cap weighted benchmark comprising large-, mid-, and small-cap stocks in developed and emerging international markets (excluding the U.S.) screened on specific environmental, social, and governance criteria. The estimated expense ratios for the new ETFs are 0.12% and 0.15%, respectively, making them among the lowest-cost ESG offerings available to investors.
[edited topic to include "Vanguard" and "ETFs" - moderator prudent]

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Re: New environmental, social, governance (ESG) funds

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:13 am

Jeff Albertson wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:22 am
Vanguard launched two new environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds on Tuesday.
Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF (ESGV)
Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF (VSGX)

filing announcement (6-27-18) https://pressroom.vanguard.com/news/Pre ... 72018.html
Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF will seek to track the FTSE US All Cap Choice Index, a market-cap weighted benchmark comprising large-, mid-, and small-cap U.S. stocks screened on specific environmental, social, and governance criteria. Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF’s target benchmark will be the FTSE Global All Cap ex US Choice Index, a market-cap weighted benchmark comprising large-, mid-, and small-cap stocks in developed and emerging international markets (excluding the U.S.) screened on specific environmental, social, and governance criteria. The estimated expense ratios for the new ETFs are 0.12% and 0.15%, respectively, making them among the lowest-cost ESG offerings available to investors.
Thank you.

This may provoke the usual discussions.

I would simply say this: if you believe in particular causes, you are, in my view, better off to use Vanguard Total Stock Market for your equity exposure, and to send real, hard, cash to causes and groups which you support.

For example, I make a regular monthly contribution to a rainforest preservation charity (it's American, that is legal, but I don't receive a tax credit for the contribution). That's far better in terms of achieving good outcomes than withholding my 0.001% of capital from various Indonesian forestry companies (some of which are not even stock market listed).

It really is, to my mind, a "feel good rather than do good" position to shift your equity positions by some tiny percentage (in terms of world market capitalization) rather than to actually sit down and write a cheque. And for these not-for-profits, a regular monthly contribution that they can rely upon does far more good than a singleton lump sum cheque.

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Sept 20--Vanguard Expands ESG Fund Offerings With Low-Cost ESG ETFs

Post by MFInvestor » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:13 am

[merged into existing topic - moderator prudent]

Vanguard Expands ESG Fund Offerings With Low-Cost ESG ETFs

Press Release September 20, 2018

"VALLEY FORGE, PA (September 20, 2018) — Vanguard today added to its current environmental, social, and governance (ESG) fund offering with Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF (ESGV) and Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF (VSGX). The new ETFs, which are among the lowest-cost ESG ETFs in the industry, can be purchased commission-free from Vanguard and are available on other leading trading platforms.

“Vanguard’s new ETFs can serve as core components of a portfolio for individuals, institutions, and advisors who wish to invest in broadly-diversified, low-cost ETFs screened for certain ESG criteria,” said Matthew Brancato, head of Vanguard’s Portfolio Review Group. “At the same time, investors should recognize that funds with ESG screens may perform differently than the broad market due to the exclusion of stocks of certain companies.”

Broad ESG exposure at Vanguard’s signature low cost

With estimated expense ratios of 0.12% for Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF and 0.15% for Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF, these funds offer ESG-conscious investors low-cost access to a majority of U.S. and international equity markets. Covering more than 80% of the U.S. equity market capitalization and nearly 70% of the international equity market capitalization, the funds exclude companies involved in the production of alcohol, tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment, weapons, fossil fuels, and nuclear power. The construction methodology also excludes companies that do not meet certain diversity criteria, as well as the labor, human rights, anti-corruption, and environmental standards defined by the U.N. Global Compact Principles.

Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF seeks to track the FTSE U.S. All Cap Choice Index, an ESG-screened, market-cap-weighted benchmark comprised of large-, mid-, and small-cap U.S. stocks. Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF’s target benchmark is the FTSE Global All Cap ex U.S. Choice Index, an ESG-screened, market-cap-weighted benchmark comprised of large-, mid-, and small-cap stocks in developed and emerging international markets (excluding the U.S.).

Expanding ESG offerings for clients across the globe

Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF and Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF complement Vanguard’s existing ESG offering for U.S. investors, Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund. Along with Vanguard’s addition to its U.S. product offering, the firm launched a suite of ESG funds for Australian investors in late August. Altogether, Vanguard’s global ESG product lineup provides options for socially conscious investors across North America, Europe, and Australia.

Index fund management expertise

Vanguard’s Equity Index Group, which manages more than $3.1 trillion in assets across the globe, serves as the investment advisor for both ETFs. William Coleman and Gerard O’Reilly, who currently manage Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund, serve as portfolio managers for Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF. Christine Franquin and Scott Geiger are the portfolio managers for Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF. In addition to their broad investment management experience, the portfolio managers draw on the diverse perspectives and knowledge of the broader Equity Index Group to pursue accurate benchmark tracking, prudent risk management, and highly competitive investment performance."

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Re: Sept 20--Vanguard Expands ESG Fund Offerings With Low-Cost ESG ETFs

Post by MikeMak27 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:18 am

How was it decided what is and isn’t responsible? Which gets me to my second question.

Nuclear power is not responsible????? It’s the most effective, reliable way for us to fight changes in climate that may be caused by humans. Count me out on these offerings.
Mac 4 fund portfolio: 45% US small cap value (IJS, VBR), 40% Emerging Markets (IEMG, VWO, FPMAX), 10% long term US treasuries (TLT), 5% US REITS (VNQ)

sycotik
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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by sycotik » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:41 am

"the funds exclude companies involved in the production of alcohol, tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment, weapons, fossil fuels, and nuclear power."

:confused

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Re: Sept 20--Vanguard Expands ESG Fund Offerings With Low-Cost ESG ETFs

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:58 am

MikeMak27 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:18 am
Nuclear power is not responsible????? It’s the most effective, reliable way for us to fight changes in climate that may be caused by humans. Count me out on these offerings.
Nuclear power is great until you are left with nuclear waste which no one knows what to do with. Yucca Mountain open yet?

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by Jeff Albertson » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:19 am

The "Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund Investor Shares (VFTSX)" has been around for 18 years. You wonder why they didn't just rename it as an ESG fund. It has generally outperformed the broader SP500 index.
VFTSX vs VFIAX (Vanguard SP500 admiral fund)
10 years: 11.21% vs 10.85%
5 years: 15.25% vs 14.48%
3 years: 16.18% vs 16.07%
Looking at the ten largest companies in each fund, these aren't in the social fund top 10: Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, & Exxon. Why Amazon & Berkshire?

(added) Amazon was probably blacklisted due to the governance of their warehouses, treatment of workers. Someday that will be solved: https://www.businessinsider.com/inside- ... ver-2018-5
Last edited by Jeff Albertson on Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New environmental, social, governance (ESG) funds

Post by mmmodem » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:23 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:13 am
It really is, to my mind, a "feel good rather than do good" position to shift your equity positions by some tiny percentage (in terms of world market capitalization) rather than to actually sit down and write a cheque. And for these not-for-profits, a regular monthly contribution that they can rely upon does far more good than a singleton lump sum cheque.
While I don't disagree with you, isn't that like saying a single vote is meaningless. It will have no effect on the outcome of the election. If you want to make a stronger statement, donating to your political party will have a stronger effect.

I mean, what if a significant number of investors flock to these types of funds so that "irresponsible" companies do notice.

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Re: Sept 20--Vanguard Expands ESG Fund Offerings With Low-Cost ESG ETFs

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:28 am

MikeMak27 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:18 am
How was it decided what is and isn’t responsible? Which gets me to my second question.

Nuclear power is not responsible????? It’s the most effective, reliable way for us to fight changes in climate that may be caused by humans. Count me out on these offerings.
I believe that best way to handle this is to invest in broad-based market funds, and simply give to those charitable entities that are as close to your beliefs as possible.

But, to those who prefer the ESG funds/ETFs, the good news is you can invest for lower ERs. That's good, I think. More opportunities are better than fewer opportunities.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by lukestuckenhymer » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:45 am

sycotik wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:41 am
"the funds exclude companies involved in the production of alcohol, tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment, weapons, fossil fuels, and nuclear power."

:confused
Not a fan of ESG funds, but there are more guns than people in the United States. We may have a problem. The last three in that list pose the biggest threat to human life and are well deserving of divestment.

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Re: New environmental, social, governance (ESG) funds

Post by ParlayBogle » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:01 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:13 am
Jeff Albertson wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:22 am
Vanguard launched two new environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds on Tuesday.
Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF (ESGV)
Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF (VSGX)

filing announcement (6-27-18) https://pressroom.vanguard.com/news/Pre ... 72018.html
Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF will seek to track the FTSE US All Cap Choice Index, a market-cap weighted benchmark comprising large-, mid-, and small-cap U.S. stocks screened on specific environmental, social, and governance criteria. Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF’s target benchmark will be the FTSE Global All Cap ex US Choice Index, a market-cap weighted benchmark comprising large-, mid-, and small-cap stocks in developed and emerging international markets (excluding the U.S.) screened on specific environmental, social, and governance criteria. The estimated expense ratios for the new ETFs are 0.12% and 0.15%, respectively, making them among the lowest-cost ESG offerings available to investors.
Thank you.

This may provoke the usual discussions.

I would simply say this: if you believe in particular causes, you are, in my view, better off to use Vanguard Total Stock Market for your equity exposure, and to send real, hard, cash to causes and groups which you support.

For example, I make a regular monthly contribution to a rainforest preservation charity (it's American, that is legal, but I don't receive a tax credit for the contribution). That's far better in terms of achieving good outcomes than withholding my 0.001% of capital from various Indonesian forestry companies (some of which are not even stock market listed).

It really is, to my mind, a "feel good rather than do good" position to shift your equity positions by some tiny percentage (in terms of world market capitalization) rather than to actually sit down and write a cheque. And for these not-for-profits, a regular monthly contribution that they can rely upon does far more good than a singleton lump sum cheque.
Why is it an either-or decision? Seems perfectly reasonable to both invest in these funds and get market returns +- a few tenths of a percent and also donate to causes you care about.

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by jdb » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:38 pm

Thanks for the update. I plan to invest. Edit: as soon as Vanguard comes out with mutual fund for this asset class. I have no ETF’s and don’t plan to buy any.
Last edited by jdb on Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

assyadh
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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by assyadh » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:46 pm

Good choice for people having religious concerns. Some religions prevents investing in some business..

Jiu Jitsu Fighter
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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by Jiu Jitsu Fighter » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:31 pm

Anyone know of an anti-ESG ETF that specifically invests in everything that ESG funds exclude? I remember there being a Vice Fund, but I'm looking for a passively managed fund that invests in the least socially and environmentally friendly companies mainly because due to the popularity of these ESG funds as well as pension rules preventing investment in these firms, there is less demand resulting in a higher cost of capital and higher expected returns. I know I could combine a bunch of very targeted ETFs, but that is a mess. I don't have a problem with most of these firms except for the military industrial complex.

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by nisiprius » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:45 pm

Only such fund I've heard of is VICEX, which of course is not a low-cost index fund or ETF. ETFdb suggests these

ETF Alternatives to VICEX
SPY SPDR S&P 500 ETF
IVV iShares Core S&P 500 ETF
VOO Vanguard S&P 500 ETF
SPDN Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bear 1x Shares
Those all look to me like first-rate alternative to VICEX.

VICEX itself, according to Morningstar, has only $200 million in assets, suggesting that however entertaining people find the idea, not too many are interested in putting actual dollars into the fund. Morningstar is showing a two-star rating.
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Re: Sept 20--Vanguard Expands ESG Fund Offerings With Low-Cost ESG ETFs

Post by fortyofforty » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:22 pm

MikeMak27 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:18 am
How was it decided what is and isn’t responsible? Which gets me to my second question.

Nuclear power is not responsible????? It’s the most effective, reliable way for us to fight changes in climate that may be caused by humans. Count me out on these offerings.
This is why I avoid such nonsense. I will make my own choices, like contributing to gun rights organizations, rather than let fund managers or committees make those decisions for me. Chances are I'd disagree anyway.
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell | There are many roads to doublin'. | Original Vanguard Diehard

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by columbia » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:30 pm

That VICEX exists is fairly amusing.

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by TheDDC » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:49 pm

lukestuckenhymer wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:45 am
sycotik wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:41 am
"the funds exclude companies involved in the production of alcohol, tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment, weapons, fossil fuels, and nuclear power."

:confused
Not a fan of ESG funds, but there are more guns than people in the United States. We may have a problem. The last three in that list pose the biggest threat to human life and are well deserving of divestment.
Nope. Total non-sequitur. Depends whose hands the guns are in. Someone defending house&home, target shooters, sports shooters, just fine. Criminals, not so much. You would have no reason to find a problem with the guns I own, for instance. I recognize you probably did not mean to turn this into a political thread, but you just did anyway.

I will not be investing in these so-called "ESG" funds as they tend to target mostly ridiculous social justice warrior causes that play both ends (bilking the consumer and taxpayer, one and the same) and more expensive (ER .12) to boot. No thanks.

-TheDDC

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by graviteer » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:36 pm

What a pleasant surprise to see Vanguard expanding its ESG offerings. It finally gave me sufficient reason to "upgrade" my Vanguard account to brokerage, so I can invest in these new ETFs.

I find these funds appealing because I believe that individual economic choices, aggregated through markets, are what determine the kind of world we live in. If I hold investments that are in conflict with my values, that is actually a distortion of the free market. Such distortions come at a cost -- much of which may be externalized and not simple to quantify, but it is a cost nonetheless. I think the usual arguments against ESG do not really reckon with that cost. It may be that targeted divestment is a more efficient approach than a portfolio of the total market plus charitable contributions, at least some of the time.

These new funds don't appeal to everyone, clearly. They will probably always provoke a healthy debate about the particular criteria they apply. However, I hope that the mere fact of their existence and growth will help send a much-needed message to the business community. I hope they elevate the incentives for management to look beyond the next quarter's profits, and develop long-term sustainable businesses that deliver benefits to all stakeholders: investors, workers, customers, and the general population.

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by VaR » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:16 am

Jeff Albertson wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:19 am
Looking at the ten largest companies in each fund, these aren't in the social fund top 10: Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, & Exxon. Why Amazon & Berkshire?
Here are the Sustainalitics scores for the companies along with their percentiles (higher percentile is better):
Amazon - 45; 15th percentile; poor governance score
Berkshire Hathaway - 47; 18th percentile; poor governance score
Exxon - 66; 66th percentile; Decent score, but I guess they're excluded only for being in the fossil fuel business

Modern ESG investing is focused on ESG as a factor with positive return, not purely as socially responsible investing. And ESG ratings are increasingly focused on operational risk and product opportunities associated with ESG.

Note that the new funds look to be merely screened for the industries and controversies mentioned as described in the FTSE Global Choice Index Series Ground Rules, while the older Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund has a more complex screen as described in the FTSE4Good Index Series Ground Rules.

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by fennewaldaj » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:40 am

I have no interest in these funds because even if I was worried about ESG concerns in my investing I don't really agree with what they consider good and bad. It seem like custom indexes might eventually be a thing. Then you can exclude companies and industries you personally have a problem with instead of the one size fits all thing we have now.

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by Jiu Jitsu Fighter » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:39 am

fennewaldaj wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:40 am
I have no interest in these funds because even if I was worried about ESG concerns in my investing I don't really agree with what they consider good and bad. It seem like custom indexes might eventually be a thing. Then you can exclude companies and industries you personally have a problem with instead of the one size fits all thing we have now.
Couldn't agree more!

Fossil fuel energy companies - these disgust some people while others just see them as a necessary evil until "clean" energy is economically viable.

Tobacco, alcohol, and adult entertainment - there is no dispute that tobacco is a health hazard and causes lung cancer and emphysema with long-term use which increases health care costs. Alcohol can be abused, but in moderation, there really isn't an issue. Adult entertainment - attracts desperate women, sometimes drug abusers. Some would say, we should be free to do whatever we want with our own bodies.

Gambling - some find entertaining, probably no issue if done in moderation. Can be addictive and ruin lives. I find it nonsensical, but people should be free to spend their money how they choose.

Child labor / sweatshops - another necessary evil for developing companies. Sure we want the best for everyone including educating the young, but what if the situation is a 12 year old working or else the family starves to death.

Nuclear power - this "clean" energy is not liked by some tree huggers because of what to due with the waste and the risk of a nuclear meltdown.

Weapons manufacturers - some are anti-gun. Funny how the same people don't give a hoot about the military weapons we manufacture to blow the limbs off of the innocent in the Middle-East.

Bottomline - just buy passively managed non-ESG funds and do whatever you can to stop the behaviour that you find apalling. Not investing in a company will not accomplish this.

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by jjface » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:07 pm

Awesome thanks vanguard.

Yes we can argue all day on what should or should not be excluded but if you care so much about including things like nuclear power vs excluding things like tobacco then clearly ESG investing is not for you. No problem choice is great and we don't all have to agree. Personally I am happy to exclude a few that are gray in order to get rid of the ones I clearly consider to be bad and want no part of. I would even be happy to get rid of a few I consider to be good just to get rid of the bad ones.

Costs are decent and the performance of social funds tends to be very similar to the full index so there is no reason for me not to invest in these versus the total market.
Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:13 am
I would simply say this: if you believe in particular causes, you are, in my view, better off to use Vanguard Total Stock Market for your equity exposure, and to send real, hard, cash to causes and groups which you support.
That is a flawed argument in my opinion as it assumes the total market funds will outperform these ESG funds which is not necessarily the case and history has shown can even be the opposite. I think the difference is small and could go either way. So if you invest in the total market and give to individual causes I can invest in ESG funds and give to individual causes as well.

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by lukestuckenhymer » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:30 pm

TheDDC wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:49 pm
I recognize you probably did not mean to turn this into a political thread, but you just did anyway.

I will not be investing in these so-called "ESG" funds as they tend to target mostly ridiculous social justice warrior causes that play both ends (bilking the consumer and taxpayer, one and the same) and more expensive (ER .12) to boot. No thanks.

-TheDDC
You effortlessly turned it political as soon as you posted a confusion emoji in regards to why a weapons manufacturing industry that profits off of death and war might be considered unethical.

I also didn't realize that climate change/anti-nuclear was a "social justice warrior" issue... Pretty sure it's a "human species survival" warrior issue.

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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

Post by fortyofforty » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:57 pm

lukestuckenhymer wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:30 pm
TheDDC wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:49 pm
I recognize you probably did not mean to turn this into a political thread, but you just did anyway.

I will not be investing in these so-called "ESG" funds as they tend to target mostly ridiculous social justice warrior causes that play both ends (bilking the consumer and taxpayer, one and the same) and more expensive (ER .12) to boot. No thanks.

-TheDDC
You effortlessly turned it political as soon as you posted a confusion emoji in regards to why a weapons manufacturing industry that profits off of death and war might be considered unethical.

I also didn't realize that climate change/anti-nuclear was a "social justice warrior" issue... Pretty sure it's a "human species survival" warrior issue.
Sorry, but the weapon itself isn't the cause of death and war. And in case you forgot, war brought freedom to the slaves, freedom to the Jews of Europe, and freedom for the women of Afghanistan.

If you're against death, you must really be against automobile manufacturers, since vehicles kill an average of 3,287 people every day. I hope the Vanguard SJW ETF doesn't invest in Ford or General Motors.
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Re: New [Vanguard] environmental, social, governance (ESG) ETFs

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