Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

Bill Gates Says 'Innovation' Is the Most Important Part in Corporate Sustainability Measures The Securities and Exchange Commission also put out a proposal earlier this year to make requirements stricter for funds that purport to have environmental, social, and governance focuses.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Alex Wong I Getty Images
Bill Gates in Washington, D.C. in 2019, talking about climate change.

This week, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates discussed his opinion on the idea that businesses over-hype their commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values in an interview with CNBC.

Gates told the outlet that while determining whether a company meets sustainability requirements is difficult, it's still important information that investors need to have to support technologies to help fight climate change — i.e., don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

"The part that I believe in is where you accelerate the innovation. To me, it's not so much who you don't invest in but who you do invest in," Gates said to CNBC.

Gates is also the creator of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a climate investment firm, which he started in 2015.

The idea of "ESG" funds, which supposedly focus on environmental or social goals, has come into the spotlight lately.

Notably, Elon Musk publicly criticized a prominent ESG index after it removed his electric car company, Tesla, (which had to do with factors including allegations of racism at his factories), but kept six oil businesses.

The SEC has also recently proposed rules to increase requirements on funds that claim to have a certain focus, like ESG funds, and more regulations for ESGs specifically.

Gates seemed to push back on the idea that the requirements are worth nitpicking about, even though he acknowledged there is a lot of "controversy" about how to measure if a company is meeting environmental requirements.

"The whole measurement thing is a little immature," he said. "The field is going to get mature on that."

The SEC has proposed that investment funds that name themselves a specific way (such as an ESG fund) must spend at least 80% of their money, on that focus (previously, it was just a suggestion) for example.

"There is a way to measure it, and it should be one of the factors people look at when they invest in companies," Gates said adding that "a lot of investors really do want to get" information related to sustainability incentives.

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

Target Is Lowering Prices on Thousands of Items — Here's Where You Can Expect to Save

The news was announced ahead of Target's Q1 2024 earnings call, expected to occur Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST.

Business News

Elvis Presley's Granddaughter Fights Graceland Foreclosure, Calls Paperwork 'Forgeries'

The 13.8-acre estate was scheduled to be sold in a public foreclosure auction on Thursday. Presley's granddaughter and heir, Riley Keough, is fighting to save Graceland in court.

Business News

Kickstarter Is Opening Up Its Platform to Creators and Making Big Changes to Its Model — Here's What's New

The company noted it is moving beyond traditional crowdfunding and making it easier for businesses to raise more money.


Know The Franchise Ownership Costs Before You Leap

From initial investments to royalty fees to legal costs, take stock of these numbers before it's too late.

Business Culture

The Psychological Impact of Recognition on Employee Motivation and Engagement — 3 Key Insights for Leaders

By embedding strategic recognition into their core practices, companies can significantly elevate employee motivation, enhance productivity and cultivate a workplace culture that champions engagement and loyalty.