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A new report from several groups shows strong opposition among asset managers, financial advisers and other industry actors to Labor Department plans to restrict sustainable investing — or ESG, for environmental, social, and governance.

Why it matters: The rule has transformed the Labor Department into a battleground over climate (though of course climate is just one part of ESG investing).

The analysis is from Ceres, Morningstar Research Services, the AFL-CIO, Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, Impax Asset Management and others.

Why it matters: The rule has transformed the Labor Department into a battleground over climate (though of course climate is just one part of ESG investing).

Of note: The groups behind the study are active opponents of the rule, not dispassionate observers. But the results track with your Generate host's less rigorous review of the comment docket in recent weeks.

The other side: Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia says there's evidence that "when investments are made to further a particular environmental or social cause, returns unsurprisingly suffer."

  • But the report is the latest analysis to dispute this and argues the expert input in the comment docket makes their case.
  • The Labor Department "has not shown that a problem exists that is in need of regulatory action, either that plan fiduciaries have been inappropriately selecting ESG investments or that ESG-focused funds have given up returns in exchange for 'non-pecuniary' benefits," it concludes.

Go deeper: The stage is set for a battle on sustainable investing

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 6, 2020 - Technology

Labor Department probes Microsoft's diversity policy

Photo: Aleksander Kalka/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Labor Department has been probing whether Microsoft's goal of increasing Black representation in its ranks constitutes racial discrimination, the software maker disclosed Tuesday. In a blog post, Microsoft says it believes it is complying with all applicable laws.

Why it matters: The Labor Department move comes as the Trump administration is also trying to use an executive order to block government contractors from offering certain types of diversity training.

3 hours ago - World

Map: A look at world population density in 3D

This fascinating map is made by Alasdair Rae of Sheffield, England, a former professor of urban studies who is the founder of Automatic Knowledge. It shows world population density in 3D.

Details: "No land is shown on the map, only the locations where people actually live. ... The higher the spike, the more people live in an area. Where there are no spikes, there are no people (e.g. you can clearly identify ... the Sahara Desert)."

Biden's Day 1 challenges: The immigration reset

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President-elect Biden has an aggressive Day 1 immigration agenda that relies heavily on executive actions to undo President Trump's crackdown.

Why it matters: It's not that easy. Trump issued more than 400 executive actions on immigration. Advocates are fired up. The Supreme Court could threaten the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and experts warn there could be another surge at the border.

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