Opposition to “woke” ESG corporatism is snowballing, as Joe Biden and Larry Fink found out this past week. Fink is the billionaire CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $8 trillion under management. He is also one of Biden’s biggest boosters and the most prominent corporate promoter of ESG, the controversial rating system that is pushing companies to adopt “progressive” Soros-style policies rather than carry out their legal and fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders. ESG, which stands for Environment, Social, and Governance, is a scheme aimed at pressuring businesses into joining the politically correct stampede on climate change, decarbonization, sustainable development, and so-called social justice and racial justice issues such as gun control, abortion rights, LGBTQ equity, and critical race theory.
Belated Rally Against ESG Juggernaut
Although ESG has only hit the general public’s radar screens in the past year or so, the ESG program, like most globalist intrigues, has been quietly in the works for decades. (We will return to that important history in a moment.) However, with the dangers of ESG now far more readily apparent, opposition is belatedly forming. Congress is stepping into the breach. State legislatures, governors, and attorney generals are also taking action.
On Tuesday, February 28, the U.S. House of Representatives fired the first salvo aimed at nixing the administration’s ESG program for 401(k) retirement investing, as put forward by the Biden Labor Department’s new rule, known as the “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights.” The Labor rule, crafted pursuant to an executive order by President Biden’s “Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk” (EO 14030) of May 20, 2021, was promulgated to undo President Trump’s executive order banning the ESG impositions on pension funds.
Speaking on the House floor on February 28, Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), the sponsor of the anti-ESG resolution, blasted Democrats for misrepresenting his bill and for failing to protect investors and retirees from the harmful impacts of ESG on their investments. “Nothing in this resolution prohibits an American from allocating their capital from the way they want to,” he noted. But what this resolution will do is stop the Department of Labor from coercing Americans into lower performing, higher fee, less diversified, politicized funds. We must stop the pollicization of allocation of capital…. In 2022, the S&P 500 energy sector ended the year a whopping 59 percent higher than where it started, amid a brutal bear market, in which the S&P 500 overall lost 20 percent! If you’re invested in ESG in 2022, you are a massive loser because you are divested from energy. Stop the pollicization of capital.”
On an almost straight party-line vote, the anti-ESG measure, House Joint Resolution 30, passed by 216 to 204. Representative Jared Golden of Maine was the sole Democrat to join the Republicans on this vote in the House. The following day, March 1, it passed the Senate by a vote of 50 to 46, with Democratic Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia crossing over to vote with the Republicans.
To dump the ESG rule, Republicans utilized the Congressional Review Act, which lets Congress disapprove — by a simple majority vote — a final rule issued by a federal agency if it has not been in effect for more than 60 legislative days. The White House press office says President Biden is preparing to use his veto pen for the first time to cancel this legislation and keep his ESG plan in place.
As we have reported here at The New American (see articles linked below), more than two dozen states are suing the Biden administration over the ESG rule and states are divesting from BlackRock, Vanguard and other asset managers that are pushing ESG.
Long, Dark History of the ESG Stealth Agenda
The foundation for ESG was laid more than 30 years ago by the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) at the 1992 Earth Summit. For that UN confab in Rio de Janeiro, the BCSD effected a carefully timed release for its book entitled, Changing Course: A Global Perspective on Development and the Environment. Accompanied by the scripted hosannahs of the global press, it introduced much of the world to “responsible investing,” by which was meant a new form of “capitalism” with an enviro-socialist twist. (For more history on this, see the author’s 1992 book, Global Tyranny, Step by Step: The United Nations and the Emerging New World Order.) The next major step came in 1999, when then UN Secretary-General Kofi Anna went to the World Economic Forum’s annual Davos extravaganza to announce the UN’s Global Compact as a means to promote “responsible business practices and UN values among the global business community.” It claimed the support of thousands of companies, business executives, and “stakeholders” (i.e., paid activists). The following year, 2000, the UN held its Millennium Summit in New York City, which resulted in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs were an attempt to implement piecemeal the UN’s massive, 351-page Agenda 21 – unveiled at the Rio Earth Summit — in a simplified, digestible program of 8 goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators. More woke corporatists signed onto the MDGs, which, we were told, would bring about global nirvana by 2015. But, as we found out when 2015 came along, the UN-WEF globalists simply upped the ante, replacing the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).