I attended a summit of sorts yesterday. A clandestine one.
Who was there? CEOs, state attorneys general and treasurers, think tankers, former federal government officials, law professors, authors...it was a high powered and diverse group.
What brought everyone together? A shared belief that "ESG" is a profound threat to our country.
Why was the meeting clandestine? Because some of the participants were in the position where they could be professionally cancelled if their views were known. That's where we are as a country. It's a bit like a private school parent pushing back against CRT, or a university president criticizing DEI initiatives. (So many acronyms to fight...)
ESG stands for "Environmental, Social, and Governance." It is an effort to exert pressure on our corporate and financial institutions to adhere to a certain set of principles.
Sounds nice, no?
It always does.
In reality, ESG is a heavy-handed tool used by the left to achieve various policy goals that it cannot achieve through the legislative process. It is the latest stratagem of the Long March, mandating that companies hold certain views, hire in certain ways, and stay out of certain industries.
And it's working; this is a fight we're losing, and part of the problem is that almost no one outside of corporate America knows what ESG is. There are millions of otherwise smart, informed people that have never heard of it. As I told the group yesterday, ESG is where CRT was two years ago: an unfamiliar threat that had seemingly emerged overnight, but one that had been percolating for decades.
CRT is no longer an unfamiliar concept, and those fighting it have done a fairly effective job of properly stigmatizing the movement. (Thus efforts to rebrand CRT as "Culturally Responsive Learning. The left is nothing if not facile with language.)
But CRT was affecting people's kids, so they woke up to the threat quickly. ESG, previously touted as "stakeholder capitalism," is even more insidious, because it operates on a level once removed from most people.
For instance, do you have money at BlackRock, State Street, or Vanguard? If you do, you are actively abetting the ESG movement. Undoubtedly, you know none of this.
You see, those companies and others take your money and invest it with with ever-shifting, elusive ESG principles. They use your proxy to jam through hundreds of woke voter resolutions every year. They have the power of trillions of dollars.
Your money, their values. (Someone else at the summit came up with that.)
Worse, by eschewing certain sectors, these managers are willingly accepting sub-par performance in the name of political ideology. Again, with your money. This is a direct violation of fiduciary duty, and I expect pension managers, in particular, may be on the receiving end of lawsuits soon.
It can't happen soon enough.
There's so much more to this. If you feel like you need a little more background, I refer you to Utah State Treasurer Marlo Oaks excellent guest column.
Get up the curve, because you're already paying a price for this.