Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is a moniker applied to policies and political action that place climate change and so-called social justice at the center. The Biden administration could be called the ESG presidency. “Equity,” or discrimination to achieve parity without consideration for performance or qualification, is the centerpiece of policymaking.
Politicians are expected to take policy positions that seem to favor one political ideology, as annoying or destructive as those policies may be. However, corporations are supposed to focus on providing excellent products and services to win in the marketplace. Yet, increasingly, major brands are taking ideological positions.
Consumers’ Research, a 501(c) (3), is highlighting the politicization of corporate America at customers’ expense in multi-million dollar ad campaigns.
The organization’s ads have taken on woke behavior from companies like Levi’s, Coca-Cola, and Major League Baseball. President Will Hild says the organization will continue to push companies to adopt customer-centric business models and expose those that prioritize going woke instead of delivering for consumers. When banks and investment firms got into the ESG game, Consumers’ Research also exposed them. Consumers’ Research demonstrated how the investment firm BlackRock and its CEO Larry Fink, in particular, use other people’s money to push their preferred environmental policies in corporations through a series of ads.
However, effectively fighting woke capital needs a multi-pronged approach. So, on Tuesday, Hild announced the launch of Consumers Defense, a 501(c) (4) partner organization of Consumers’ Research. “Today, we are announcing the launch of Consumers Defense, a sister organization to Consumers’ Research. Building on our more than 90-year history of standing up for consumers, this new organization was the next logical step in defending their interests, namely against the threats of woke capitalism and ESG,” Hild explained.
“Never before has corporate America and Wall Street treated their customers with such contempt. It became clear that to fully protect consumers from the price inflation and shortages that ESG is leading to, we had to fight on all possible fronts. Billionaire fat cats shouldn’t be using public pension dollars to play politics. Consumers Defense will do its part to end this wicked scam once and for all,” he added.
To begin, Consumers Defense is assisting states in strengthening laws related to their fiduciary duty to act in the interest of state and public pension holders. Another initiative is teaching state legislators how to protect state contracts from companies that have policies that discriminate against industries vital to the state.
The new website offers model legislation to address these issues, patterned after states that have started to take on woke capital. The legislative tracker is following 155 bills across the nation. It shows what stage the legislation is in and even lets citizens know which bills have died somewhere in the process. State legislators and governors hear from bank lobbyists when they are considering these bills. Hild hopes the tool will help citizens weigh in as well.
As an example, in May, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron issued an opinion declaring that ESG investing is incompatible with Kentucky law. According to State Treasurer Allison Ball, pension dollars must be used to pursue profit in the interest of the investor. Additionally, investments should support industrial development and economic growth in the state. ESG policies hurt the fossil fuel industry, and Kentucky produces 173 million tons of coal annually and ranked 20th in oil and natural gas production in 2017.
In other state-level actions earlier this year, West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore and Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder removed state treasury funds from BlackRock. Moore also cut ties with payment processors that subscribe to ESG policies in a separate action. Together their efforts affect approximately $800 million in investment funds. Consumers Defense took the elements of state laws that empowered officials like Cameron, Moore, and Schroder to take action to combat ESG investing in creating their model legislation.
Part of the reason Hild is passionate about combating ESG is because of what is going on in Europe. Many nations are struggling with 30-40% inflation while continuing to push insane ESG policies. “That is why Consumers Defense will fight so hard. Europe is deindustrializing, and residents in Germany are stockpiling firewood in anticipation of gas shortages. Continued green energy policies could force residents in some nations to use pre-industrial methods of keeping warm, cooking, and lighting their homes. Blackouts and power failures are not out of the question this winter. Specifically, the U.K. and Germany issued warnings.”
It is not just heating and lights, according to Hild. People could run out of food. “ESG policies are what caused the collapse of the agriculture industry in Sri Lanka and what is driving the farmer protests in the Netherlands. The people who push green energy want to change how we produce food. Recommended policies limit livestock and reduce the use of nitrogen, which reduces output.” In other words, ESG policies will affect the global food supply. “We are trying to prevent these outcomes in the U.S.,” Hild emphasized.