SINGAPORE (Dec 10): On Dec 5, the UK government published a trove of internal Facebook emails and other documents that suggested the social media platform sought to trade users’ data with advertisers, or wield it for strategic advantage with third-party applications. Facebook has been under increasing scrutiny amid privacy concerns, and the backlash to the news was to be expected. In its defence, Facebook said it was seeking a way to ensure the sustainability of its business.
As a business, Facebook should indeed be looking for the best way to monetise or leverage its assets — users’ data — to ensure the platform is a success for its shareholders. But the reaction to its attempt to do so is telling, in how wider society is no longer tolerant of a company’s making a profit at any cost.
This provides somewhat of a backdrop for our story this week on how sustainable investing, or an investment strategy that considers social and environmental good in addition to financial returns, is becoming mainstream. The challenge, though, is in properly tracking and quantifying the impact of such investment.