With ESG, Everyone's a Climate Activist

In 2019, 266 members of the influential Business Roundtable, including the world’s largest fund managers, bankers, communications carriers, even fossil-fuel companies at the risk of their own survival, signed off on a one-page statement reimagining the American corporation. It described a new paradigm of corporate social responsibility to its stakeholders, a perspective that elevates employees, contractors, and suppliers over the interests of profit-seeking shareholders whose investments underwrite a company’s financial health.  It presented a woke capitalist view of the new-age company as beholden to environmental and social whims of the political elite. 

The concept of stakeholder capitalism is a half-century old, dating back to the Davos manifesto in 1971. To CEOs of a progressive bent, this better kind of capitalism changes the calculus for business leaders by embracing a corporate conscience that devalues short-term shareholder profits in favor of investments aimed at resolving environmental and social issues. 

Under the thumb of the United Nations and World Economic Forum, the Biden administration and corporate boardrooms across America have thrown their lot behind the practice of stakeholder capitalism.  In so doing, they have put American economic and energy power in the hands of potentates and dictators and brought a sense of reality to decades-old fears of a New World Order, Bilderberg conspiracies, and global kingmakers steering nation-state economies.

Highlighting the European origins of this crusade is a manipulated Swedish teenager named Greta Thunberg, whose well-coached militancy inclines her to apocalyptic outbursts characteristic of an anxiety disorder. Trafficked as a doomsday climate purveyor to world leaders, Thunberg recently showboated her net-zero emission convictions by boarding a sailboat from France to the United States.  Pulling off this transatlantic stunt forced several crewmembers to take mega-carbon airline flights to various ports of call.

The movement to align worldwide production and labor is woven into a vision to eliminate carbon emissions from the planet.  It is a Trojan Horse for an economic fascism that benefits few but the international corporate and political elites who toast their influence and fortune at Davos cocktail parties.

There’s a lot of backslapping going on in the corporate world over Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) business strategies.  ESG provides the leverage used by governments to force-feed a progressive value system on corporations.  It is shareholder extortion, a corporate money pit pushed by the climate commissars at the UN and WEF that assures the erosion of shareholder investments.

Climate activism is a billy club swung wildly by the Biden administration and Beltway Democrats to rule over the domestic means of production by threatening a dystopian view of the future.  It pervades every department of the administration, including the military. Social media and the academies have fallen in lockstep, censoring or shouting down any denial of climate change narratives.  In Alinsky style, last week Biden preached to a distressed audience in Fort Myers that Hurricane Ian ended the debate about the effects of global warming, sinking to a new low in the presence of human misery and destruction with a callous claim discredited days before by his own chief hurricane officer at NOAA.

Carbon shaming, much like the extortionate financial pressures of the Black Lives Matter Global movement, has cowered corporate boardrooms through the creation of report cards that grade a company’s level of reparations for climate concerns and social issues. As Critical Race Theory seeks to alter the perspective and attitudes of young minds, ESG seeks the same for corporations through the publication of blacklists. These scoreboards focus investors and fiduciaries on companies that adhere to a set of ESG-sanctioned practices and encourages divestiture in the fossil-fuel industry.  ESG scores are kompromat for a progressive political goal to starve the oil and gas industry of its shareholders and to back Americans into the corner of renewable energy alternatives.

Sustainable ESG investing is blood in the water to Wall Street sharks. In 2020, ESG assets surpassed thirty-five trillion and are predicted to rise to fifty trillion by 2025.  For perspective, that’s one-third of all global assets under management.  Stock Exchange giants such as Morgan Stanley, flying under the ESG banner, MSCI, and Standard and Poor’s subsidiary effort, S&P Global ESG Index, have cooked-up a corporate guilt complex that has pushed the Fortune 500 placeholders in the direction of climate activism.

The expanding ESG universe has spawned a cottage industry of funding managers and consultants eager to move companies along on their net zero-emission journeys, all the while courting prospective shareholders with a wink and a nod that investing in industries that are ESG-compliant will yield long-term benefits for the planet and pocketbook. Diverting company assets and profits away from shareholders in furtherance of the effort to delay calamitous climate assumptions can be an expensive proposition.  Green fund managers are now tapping into larger currency pools to bankroll the effort and the White House has been eager to help.

Sidestepping Congress and imposing rule through the regulatory powers of his departments, Biden issued an executive order in May 2021 forcing the hand of the Department of Labor to loosen public pension investment restrictions on fiduciaries.  Investment managers can now determine if investing in companies with an ESG focus is in the pecuniary interest of a pension fund.  For millions of retirees, this translates to higher fees during challenging economic times and at the exact moment in their lives when they hope to exact the best return for a life of labor.  Given current actuarial predictions, it is unlikely that seniors, hoodwinked into the unwitting role of social warriors, will enjoy profits short of their lifespans.

Bewitched by ESG promises of long-term investment benefits, state political leaders are imposing moral and ethical value systems on their constituents by dumping their public employee pensions into asset managers like BlackRock, whose ESG policies are aimed at using those retirement plans to phase out the fossil-fuel industry.  BlackRock’s portfolio has access to forty-three billion dollars, or roughly sixty percent, of New York City’s pension funds.  Eight states, to include California, Maryland, and New York, are proposing laws to eliminate fossil-fuel companies from the portfolios of their pension-fund managers.

As one might expect, the world’s mega-polluters China, Russia, and India, are dragging their feet on ESG policy, giving lip service support but falling short of formulating actual domestic policy.  China recently sent a tickle up the legs of international ESG regulators by pledging to divest their interest in foreign coal production.  Meanwhile, coal plants are sprouting like weeds in the mainland provinces.  Consider predictions that only nineteen percent of current carbon emissions will be reduced by 2050, with most of the financial burden shouldered by the Occident while our adversaries in the Orient continue their economic and military hegemony.

Some cracks are appearing in the ESG armor.  Conservatism and right-wing governments are breaking out all over Europe, in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany, the latter retreating to coal production in the absence of a Russian gas lifeline and other renewable means to warm its population. Last week, Louisiana pulled $794 million from BlackRock. Hypocrisy has been exposed in the recent financial disclosures of some fund managers who have purchased oil stocks to offset ESG losses.  Other companies are simply lying about their ESG commitment, a process known as greenwashing.  There has also been a strong rebuke in some academic circles that ESG pension-fund investments yield lower returns with no discernable impact on the environment.

Unfortunately for the welfare of all Americans, Biden administration greens are digging in their heels, fighting the political currents, ignoring voter priorities, and tacking in the opposite political direction.  Beltway globalists that nest in and around the White House will not abandon the utopian vision of an America hardwired only to wind and solar power.  Showing them the door in 2022 and 2024 is the only way to reverse the trend bringing about an economic, military, and social capitulation to our adversaries.

Image: Innov8Social

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