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ESG and the lucrative market for salvation

For the medieval church the quest for salvation was a major concern.  Demonstrating your faith through good works was a good way to save your soul from purgatory. And so emerged the concept of indulgences, which could be granted by popes, as measurable ways of assessing and paying off debts owed for one’s sins. From the eleventh century onwards the church introduced a market for indulgences: instead of penance by pilgrimage, helping the poor or fighting infidels in the Holy Land,  one could achieve the same result by making a monetary payment. I was reminded of Indulgences when I read last week in the FT that PwC  is planning  to increase its global headcount by 100,000 people – more than a third over the next five years –  ‘as part of a $12bn investment in recruitment, training, technology and deals designed to capture a booming market for environmental, social and governance (ESG) advice’. So why did my heart sink, rather than sing, at this news? Read the rest here.

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