Barrick Gold's CEO lashes out against new-found ESG focus

Pedro Gonçalves
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Barrick Gold's CEO lashes out against new-found ESG focus

Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow has criticised the fund management industry and what he calls a new-found refusal to invest in businesses that do not have satisfactory environmental, social and governance criteria.

Speaking at a major mining event in Cape Town, Bristow asked why some of the most profit-hungry asset managers were refusing to invest in businesses that did not meet ESG criteria.

"Even late capitalism's supposedly unvarnished practitioners have suddenly discovered the merits of a social conscience and are now saying they won't invest in a business that doesn't have a satisfactory ESG," Bristow told the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, the FT reported.

A good business also has to be a good citizen particularly in emerging countries"

Bristow said Randgold, the copper producer he founded and sold to Barrick in 2018, had long demonstrated the "critical" importance of investing and working to earn a social license to operate. He claimed that he has long argued that "a good business also has to be a good citizen particularly in emerging countries."

Barrick is the world's second biggest gold producer with operations that span the globe.

Bristow, a South African geologist who took the helm of the company a year ago, also said poverty was a bigger issue than climate change, as it was ludicrous that African countries were facing pressure to cut carbon emissions while producing a small percentage of the global total.

 

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