Environmental, Social, and Governance, or ESG, is a financial term that measures a company’s “wokeness” as a proxy for its value or investment attractiveness.
As such, it constitutes financial misconduct. It is dishonest to distort a company’s financial stability by putting political judgments and end-of-the-world beliefs ahead of business concerns.
However, because business leaders may resist being convinced based on what is true, here it is in plain language: it might result in a lawsuit, which could be pretty costly.
This week, Utah launched much-needed backlash against financial analysts who examine the state’s bonds for their adoption of ESG principles.
Infuriated by the low and presumably arbitrary ESG ratings, Gov. Spencer Cox and other state leaders wrote to credit rating agency Standard & Poors, requesting the ratings be revoked.
They sought detailed responses to many questions. Officials also insisted the state government be evaluated exclusively on the basis of its financial stability and prospects for the future, not on the personal and politically correct factors inherent in ESG.
“ESG is about controlling and forcing behaviors. It attempts to do through capital markets what… activists have been unable to do through Democratic process….It is a political score…”@TreasurerOaks #SayNo2ESG
Florida, Utah Take on the ESG Farce https://t.co/bBzXQgh4F6
— State Financial Officers Foundation (@SFOF_States) April 26, 2022
Utah officials wrote that “S&P’s Environmental, Social, and Governance credit yardstick politicize what should be a strictly financial choice.”
They cited how leftist authorities and ESG activists pushed banks to avoid doing business with the “oil, gas, coal, and weapons sectors,” among others.
The letter observes that S&P is tasked with the responsibility of analyzing financials and profitability and “attempting to reconcile this analysis with current political whims is unacceptable.”
“If ESG metrics were not political in nature, but rather financial, they would be captured by conventional credit analysis. As a result, ESG metrics are superfluous.”
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) April 21, 2022
That’s just the beginning, as ESG evaluations are much more subjective than they appear. There is no reason to suppose any one individual’s interpretation of ESG is “socially responsible.”
The Utah letter states, “Russian energy behemoths, Gazprom and Rosneft, did better than American energy behemoths, Chevron and Exxon, on S&P’s ESG rating.”
These Russian firms are partially state-owned and entirely controlled by Vladimir Putin, his allies, and other war criminals butchering people in Ukraine. Therefore, what makes them a more socially conscious investment than Exxon?
The fact is ESG pressure is directed at American businesses because, unlike Russian or Chinese state-owned enterprises that have no intention of becoming socially responsible, there is some assumption that Americans will feel compelled to conform.
Thus, ESG concerns are not based on objective data. Instead, they are utilized as motivating and rhetorical weapons to coerce corporate boards into advancing a specific agenda.
Whose? Perhaps Putin’s, even if it was not the intended outcome.
States and businesses must take a stance, as Utah has, against the corruption of finance exemplified by ESG. Politics is for commentators and elected politicians, not the individuals responsible for managing your retirement money.
Illusions of the left about the world exploding in ten years must not be allowed to cloud prudent investment decisions that contribute to the prosperity of individuals, families, and businesses.