The latest from the Brand Misinformation Index: ESG

Environmental, social, and corporate governance emerges as key misinfo trend


Misinformation narratives are never constant, but rather evolve to suit the sociopolitical moment, and range of different nefarious purposes. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the intensification of an already growing trend in mis- and dis-information: the focus on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance).

Before using Pulsar’s unique integration with NewsGuard to visualize and understand this trend, it’s worth taking a look at the broader context. 

ESG has progressively risen over the past two years to become a mainstream concern. From mid-2022 onwards, however, we’ve seen an explosion of anti-ESG sentiment on social channels.


These anti-ESG conversations can take wildly divergent forms, positioning it as either ineffective or else as part of a wider conspiracy. This process was notably accelerated by a 400% increase in May 2022 – Tesla’s ejection from the global ESG index saw the whole idea of ESG dismissed as a scam in multiple quarters.

And this pattern holds true elsewhere. One feature of Pulsar and NewsGuard’s integration is that it can help us understand how often brands are mentioned on untrustworthy sites. Here, it’s Tesla that emerges as the brand most mentioned in conjunction with ESG.

Does each mention of these brands occur within articles spewing misinformation? Not necessarily. But the intermingling of truths, un-verified half-truths and downright misinformation can create a highly unstable mix – one that massively increases a brand’s exposure to uncontrollable, potentially harmful narratives.

To view the most recent updated version of the Brand Misinformation Index, where we rank these brands according to their overall levels of exposure, click here.

As well as assigning each of these brand’s a quantitative score, we can also perform a more qualitative analysis, to understand how particular topics and narratives take hold. 

Although charges of ‘wokeism’ have seen particular brands – such as Disney or Coca-Cola – soar up the table in particular weeks, it’s actually energy that has emerged as the ESG topic most discussed with regards to these brands. 

Chip manufacturing brands in particular are regularly cited across untrustworthy sites.

And this is no passing phase either. Because despite the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act drawing increased attention onto so called ‘green’ investments, this takes place against broader political context that incorporates geopolitical currents we’ve explored previously, and which have been brewing for many months.


If you would like to learn more about the Misinformation Risk Index, or how access to this data can help you to safeguard your own brand, simply fill in the form below.

Where next?

Introducing the Misinformation Risk Index for Brands 

Introducing NewsGuard on Pulsar: a new way to understand misinformation