In the cutthroat world of high finance, seeking profit is often seen as anathema to doing good. But are the two concepts really at odds with each other?
To some in the business world and on Wall Street, the growing expectation that one must pair “doing good” with “doing business” – described by terms like “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) and “environmental social and corporate governance” (ESG) – feels like being told to eat more fiber. A firm’s leaders may genuinely care about social and environmental issues. They may be actively involved in philanthropic projects to address environmental and social problems. They may even acknowledge that it will enhance their brands’ reputations – “We should probably have somebody in charge of that; people care about that stuff these days.” But as a core strategy for making money? Many CEOs believe you’re naïve if you think your attention to environmental and social issues will make you money – these strategies are a money suck; they smack of inefficiency, foolish idealism, and ultra-left-wing, anti-profit-seeking, bad-for-the-economy thinking. Even Hillary Clinton told environmental activists to “get a life” in an email leaked by WikiLeaks. The question is: Can you really make money and do good at the same time? We attempt to find out in episode 7 of the Wall & Broadcast.

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