ESG, or “environmental, social, governance” investing has become a pernicious threat to our free market.
Large financial institutions such as banks and fund managers are using the gigantic sums of other people’s money they control to push ideological agendas that have nothing to do with investing. Substituting a woke agenda for sound business practice constitutes fundamental breach of the fiduciary duty between investors and those they entrust to manage their funds.
This is institutional leftism at its worst.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall writes at the WSJ that, “America’s self-proclaimed ‘socially responsible’ financial institutions, which should be competing in the free market, are instead joining forces with one another and their global counterparts to decide which companies—and, in some cases, which industries—should be permitted to continue their market participation unimpeded… America’s self-proclaimed ‘socially responsible’ financial institutions, which should be competing in the free market, are instead joining forces with one another and their global counterparts to decide which companies—and, in some cases, which industries—should be permitted to continue their market participation unimpeded.”
The ability of banks and investment houses to cut off businesses from the capital they need to operate is an abuse of power.
CFACT is tacking the ESG threat head on. One tactic CFACT pursues is playing an active role in company shareholder meetings.
Adam Houser reports at CFACT.org on this recent question I put to Blackrock CEO Larry Fink:
“Numerous states like Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana are pushing back against ESG criteria and taking action to divest from BlackRock. Why doesn’t BlackRock change course and repudiate the divisive nature of ESG criteria, admit it erred in ever getting involved with it, and move on?’”
This question, lumped together with similar ones at the meeting, forced Fink to dodge and filibuster. It’s clear he’s not used to being put on the spot by a conservative voices.
A few weeks before that I also got a chance to ask Bank of America CEO Bryan Moynihan this question: “The large number of shareholder proposals regarding climate change clearly indicates that Bank of America’s strategy of trying to appease the activists is not working. Why doesn’t Bank of America simply focus on maximizing value for shareholders and just ignore these people?”
Again, the CEO’s answer was evasive, but it was also defensive. This is a good thing. This kind of aggressive questioning and awareness raising is having an impact.
Governors and legislators are taking a stand against ESG investing. Shareholders are pushing back hard.
A series of left-wing energy and environmental proposals before the shareholders in recent Exxon and JP Morgan meetings CFACT took part in were shot down in flames.
The free market is the most efficient way to allocate financial resources known to man.
Companies must be allowed to innovate and compete in the free marketplace unimpeded by left-wing virtue-signaling by banks and fund managers.
For nature and people too.
RELATED ARTICLE: Peak ESG behind us: Investors throw out climate fantasies
Why has everything gone woke these days? ESG scores.
Here is BlackRock CEO Larry Fink along with the CEO of AmEx explaining his desire to “force behaviors” (2017): pic.twitter.com/wCoeoJBD8x
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) June 4, 2023
EDITORS NOTE: This CFACT column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.