The mutual fund industry has gone “woke.” It’s not just the asset managers who screen socially “unacceptable” companies in industries involving, say, guns, fossil fuels, tobacco, or gambling. Those have been around for decades.
No, there’s something else amiss. And if you’re investing your hard-earned money, you might be part of the problem.
The international organization responsible for creating merchant category codes for credit card purchases has given its approval to establish one for transactions made at gun stores.
The International Organization for Standardization’s Registration and Maintenance Management Group met on Wednesday to discuss a request made by Amalgamated Bank to set up such a code.
An ISO spokesperson told The Center Square that RMMG members could not decide whether to approve the application. That elevated the discussion to the ISO leadership that oversees standards for retail financial services.
Reports about ESG — “environmental, social, and governance” scores that progressive activists, money-management firms, and government agencies (namely, the Securities and Exchange Commission) assign to corporations — have become nearly ubiquitous in the news. There is even a website, esgnews.com, that keeps track of the latest ESG-related developments.
Pro-market elected officials and thought leaders are fighting back against progressive activists’ creeping capture of corporate America through the Environmental Social and Governance movement..
ESG investment strategies, increasingly prevalent among large asset management firms, seek to leverage passive investors’ assets to steer corporate decision-making to promote progressive social and environmental priorities. ESG has often been compared to the “social credit” system used by China’s ruling communist elite to enforce political conformity on its population.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was a long-awaited victory for life. While Dobbs did not make abortion illegal, it did empower the residents of all 50 states to democratically determine abortion’s legal status through their elected representatives. Currently, 22 states provide or will soon provide protection for unborn children. The other 28 states place few or no limits on abortion. The abortion battle will now move to the ballot box in each state.
Blackrock has gone from being known as the largest asset manager in the world to being known as the investment company that pushes a social agenda on the companies it invests in. From cajoling corporate America into signing the manifesto of stakeholder capitalism, the Business Roundtable Statement on Corporate Responsibility, to putting anti-oil board members on the board of oil companies, Blackrock has developed a reputation, at least among conservatives, as a company that is imposing CEO Larry Fink’s social agenda on American capitalism.
In fact, the reputational issue is so prevalent that Fink spent much of the recent annual report rebutting it, arguing that what he is practicing is simply capitalism and that the imposition of climate change minimization measures and other ESG issues relevant to stakeholders is simply capitalism. The standard arguments here are that practicing ESG is not politics but rather risk management. Typically ESG proposals talk about reputational risk or the risk that at some point in the future governments will embrace the values expressed in ESG circles and impose them involuntarily on businesses. In such cases, for example, fossil fuel companies will be stuck with “stranded assets”, i.e. oil and gas wells rendered worthless by the coming age of enlightened energy regulation.
From Congress to the statehouse, Republicans are fighting a growing movement to force investments into funds that make decisions based on environmental, social, governance, or political criteria.
The Environmental Social Governance (ESG) movement has prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission to propose a rule requiring companies to report emissions and other climate risk data, while public pension funds like the Thrift Savings Plan are discussing using ESG metrics to govern investment decisions.
A group of shareholders in America’s largest bank has banded together to fight against the company’s “woke” policies.
Members of a group called The Boardroom Initiative issued a shareholder proposal that rebuked some of Bank of America’s “wokeness,” and though the proposal was shot down, members of the group remained upbeat.
States across the country are preemptively banning Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scoring, which some say would lead to a massive consolidation of wealth among the most powerful investment companies in America.
“In an attempt to secure vast amounts of wealth and influence over society, corporations, bankers, and investors, working closely with key government officials, have launched a unified effort to impose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards on most of the industrialized global economy. (ESG standards are also referred to as ‘sustainable investment’ or ‘stakeholder capitalism.’),” Justin Haskins at The Heartland Institute said.
Blackrock CEO Larry Fink warned Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investors in his $10 trillion hedge fund’s annual shareholder letter that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and the resulting Western sanctions on Russia — had disrupted globalization and interdependent supply chains and would result in “increasing oil and gas supply” in the U.S. and “coal consumption may increase over the next year” in Europe and Asia to offset the drop in Russian exports.
As a result, Fink projected, “This will inevitably slow the world’s progress toward net zero in the near term,” referring to ESG goals like net zero global carbon emissions by 2050 that would encounter challenges, particularly as American consumers pay much higher prices with consumer inflation up 7.9 percent and producer inflation up 10 percent the past twelve months.
Those price pressures will mean more oil and gas production immediately, Fink said.