- - Monday, February 27, 2023

If we learned anything from COVID-19 tyranny, it’s that big government and powerful corporations will stop at nothing to seize power and control over the lives of each and every one of us and how we live our lives. Take the new corporate buzzword and investment strategy, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing. Sounds harmless on its face, but when we pull the curtain back, in reality, it’s just another example of the effort to reorder our lives to fit the agenda of the far left. ESG investing is a trojan horse for major companies to say they are doing “something” for PR purposes, but is really an attempt to undermine the fundamentals of capitalism and individual liberty.

The tip of the iceberg of the issue is how this type of investing will impact the rates and returns of pensions and the standard of living for millions of Americans. Rather than seeking to deliver the highest return on hard-earned investments, this type of investing is based on “social credit scores.” The implications are enormous. Who can banks lend to? Well, certainly not the lifeline of our economy in Missouri. Factories, plants, farmers, ranchers, oil and gas producers, and trucking companies certainly are at risk of securing capital because they don’t meet the criteria of being “environmentally responsible.” What political donations does a company give? Do they donate to police foundations or Black Lives Matter? What is the real impact of woke investment policies? Less money for you, but also divestment from critical energy and manufacturing industries deemed not “socially responsible enough” by those who have never set foot in a factory or plant, the inability of farmers and ranchers to get loans from local banks afraid to upset the status quo, rising diesel costs for the truckers who transport our food and goods across the country, the jeopardization of years and years of retirement and general savings by frugal Americans, and much, much more. It is simply climate alarmism with teeth.

What’s more, ESG is an extension of the ongoing war on the American energy and agriculture industries by the Biden administration and climate activists. Purely determining the profitability of a company based on an arbitrary “social score” is not a sound investment strategy. Divesting from domestic energy producers and outsourcing those critical needs to countries such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia raises major national security concerns and holds our markets hostage. China is not going to stop building coal-fired power plants and investing in its massive cattle industry, and Saudi Arabia is not going to stop expanding its multibillion-dollar oil operation. ESG is an “out of sight, out of mind” investment strategy, and those that suffer the most are the poor and those who work to quite literally keep the lights on across our country.

With ESG, the elite and powerful get to tell the rest of us what we can and can’t have. The hypocrisy is astounding. According to the loudest proponents of ESG, the entire American coastline could be underwater soon, yet real estate giants and powerful former and current politicians seem to be gobbling up every bit of beachfront property they can find. The Biden administration claims to be doing everything in their power to bring down food and energy prices. Yet divesting from companies who power and feed America without a viable alternative will do the exact opposite and makes zero economic sense when analyzed through the eyes of even the most basic risk analysis investment strategy.

When I was Attorney General of Missouri, we fought to expose ESG investing and investigate companies who abandoned their fiduciary responsibilities in favor of virtue signaling. I led the way in exposing the “Net Zero Banking Alliance,” which entails six major investment banks changing investment strategy to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. I fought Blackrock’s attempts to shove their ESG agenda down the throats of millions of Americans. Now, as a United States Senator, I’ll continue to fight against ESG and the havoc it’s wreaking on domestic energy production and the long-term impacts it will have on the savings and financial stability of hard-working Missourians and Americans.

Adopting ESG investing might look nice on the glossy pages of a quarterly or annual report, and it may keep climate activists and investor activists at bay for the time being, but at the end of the day, it severely restricts domestic agriculture and energy production, increases our reliance on foreign energy sources, dings the pocketbooks and wallets of Missourians and Americans who are just trying to get by, and restricts our freedoms by limiting options for every American to make their own decisions. ESG investing is nothing more than a woke trojan horse, and it’s time to close the gate and send the elites pushing this out the door.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: ESG Investments: Prudent or Perilously Political?

• Senator Eric Schmitt, Missouri Republican, serves on the Commerce and Armed Services Committee as well as Joint Economic Committee. A sixth-generation Missourian, he served as the state’s Attorney General, State Treasurer and represented the 15th Senate District in the Missouri General Assembly.

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