, 2022-12-05 10:03:28,
When lawmakers and regulators who wrangle over environmental, social and governance issues traveled through Union Station in Washington this summer, they likely passed beneath a billboard showcasing the new ESG advisor for the cryptocurrency platform FTX: Gisele Bundchen.
After its catastrophic collapse in November, investors sued not only FTX but its supermodel backer as well, for endorsing the exchange in what they alleged to be a kind of star-studded Ponzi scheme.
The case stands as a stark reminder of how the rise of celebrity endorsers of corporate sustainability efforts has created risks for both the companies and the bold-faced names serving as their pitch men and women.
Kourtney Kardashian raised eyebrows in September with her new sustainability ambassadorship at the British fashion retailer Boohoo. Maisie Williams, who shot to fame from her tenure on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” was similarly skewered online over her role as H&M’s global sustainability ambassador.
At the same time, companies are being scrutinized on multiple fronts: consumers and activists challenging questionable pledges about their environmental efforts; Securities and Exchange Commission regulators seeking to weed out misleading ESG claims; and Republican lawmakers who scoff at the acronym as “woke capitalism.”
Ultimately, what makes celebrity ESG or sustainability roles so troublesome is figuring out whether the companies they tout are actually making productive changes, and where the line…
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