Charles Plowden: ‘ESG is still a bit of a jungle’

Baillie Gifford’s outgoing senior partner discusses ESG’s jungle of definitions, whether the sector faces a surplus of capital or a shortage, and investment’s higher purpose

“ESG is an area where we all need to be roughly right rather than precisely wrong,” states Charles Plowden, as we speak to him during the final weeks of his near four-decade career – all spent at Baillie Gifford, the past 15 years as joint senior partner.

As the conversation progresses, it becomes apparent it is also an area the pioneer of the firm’s Global Alpha strategy, and manager of Monks investment trust, views as unfinished business.

“I have become a passionate advocate on ESG because I really do believe investment has a higher purpose than simply trading second-hand bits of paper,” he says.

“It is perhaps the one thing that makes me regret I am retiring now because I like to think I could help make a difference. Certainly, as investors, we are in a position to accelerate the sort of change that is needed if, in 100 years’ time, the planet is going to be liveable in.”

Read the full interview in ESG Clarity’s latest digital magazine.


Natasha Turner

Natasha is global editor at ESG Clarity, part of Mark Allen Financial, and has been a financial journalist for seven years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of the...