As an eventful year draws to a close, we’ve been reflecting on some of the hottest topics of 2021 in sustainable business and finance. Among them is the “divestment versus engagement” debate—which gained another interesting case study, as UBS Asset Management said it would exclude Exxon Mobil and four other energy groups from its range of “climate aware” funds.

UBS, like many money managers, has argued that by holding big oil companies in these funds, it can pressure them to accelerate their green transition. Three years ago it launched a lobbying drive aimed at 49 companies it had identified as laggards in the energy transition. Most had improved their showing, said Francis Condon, UBS Asset Management’s head of thematic engagement. “However, where we have not seen tangible progress, we are taking action.”

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