The S&P Dow Jones Indices attracted quite a lot of headlines when it removed Tesla from its (Environmental, Social, and Governance) ESG Index last year. Tesla has since been added back to the S&P 500 ESG index. The update just didn’t get as much attention as Tesla’s removal last year.
When the S&P removed Tesla from the ESG Index, it provided a pretty detailed explanation behind its decision. The S&P noted that Tesla’s removal was due to a “decline in criteria level scores related to Tesla’s (lack of) low carbon strategy and codes of business conduct.” The S&P cited several accusations surrounding the Fremont Factory in California, as well as alleged Autopilot issues on its blog post.
“A Media and Stakeholder Analysis, a process that seeks to identify a company’s current and potential future exposure to risks stemming from its involvement in a controversial incident, identified two separate events centered around claims of racial discrimination and poor working conditions at Tesla’s Fremont factory, as well as its handling of the NHTSA investigation after multiple deaths and injuries were linked to its autopilot vehicles. Both of these events had a negative impact on the company’s S&P DJI ESG Score at the criteria level, and subsequently its overall score,” the S&P’s blog post read then.
As per observations from the electric vehicle community, however, it appears that Tesla has made it back to the S&P 500 ESG index. This could be seen in an index announcement that was released on April 21, 2023. The announcement also noted that the changes, which include Tesla’s return to the ESG index, would be effective prior to the open on May 1, 2023. Interestingly enough, the return of Tesla to the S&P 500 ESG index proved to be not as newsworthy as the company’s removal last year.
Electric vehicle advocates have recently observed something rather amusing regarding Tesla’s ESG score. A look at Tesla’s page would show that the electric vehicle maker currently has an ESG score of 37, which is far below the score of Philip Morris, which has an ESG score of 84. There’s just something ironic about how a company that makes tobacco products earned a higher Environmental, Social and Governance score than a company whose mission lies in sustainability.
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