Barrick Gold chief hits out at fund managers over new-found ESG focus – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – February 4, 2020)

Mark Bristow says industry has ‘suddenly discovered’ benefits of ethical investing

Mark Bristow, the tough talking boss of Barrick Gold, has lashed out at the fund management industry and its new-found focus on social and ethical investing.

Speaking at a major mining event in Cape Town, Mr Bristow questioned why some of the most profit hungry asset managers in the world were now refusing to invest in businesses that do not have satisfactory environmental, social and governance criteria.

“Even late capitalism’s supposedly unvarnished practitioners have suddenly discovered the merits of a social conscience and are now saying they won’t invest in a business that doesn’t have a satisfactory ESG,” Mr Bristow told the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

“To those people I say . . . welcome to the club. I have been arguing for a long time that a good business also has to be a good citizen particularly in emerging countries,” said Mr Bristow.

Barrick is the world’s second biggest gold producer with operations that span the globe. Mr Bristow, a South African geologist, took the helm of the company a year ago.

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