Pushback on ESG Investing

As the 2022 proxy season begins to wind down, we are encouraged by the clear evidence of progress made with companies through shareholder engagement. 

Further encouraging was the SEC’s recent proposal for uniform mandatory climate disclosure, a welcome recognition from this federal agency of the urgent nature of the climate crisis and the materiality of the risk it presents to our portfolios. And, we are further bolstered by the swelling of ICCR’s ranks – the addition of institutional investors and allies from around the globe who understand the importance of these ESG concerns and are joining other responsible investors in putting their shoulders to the wheel.

However, as we celebrate these successes, we are also seeing troubling pushback from multiple sources intent on hindering this progress through the politicization of ESG investing.
 
Examples of this pushback are below.

 

A. Pushback at State Level on ESG Investing

Addressing System-Level Risks In Order To Maximize Long-Term Financial Returns Forbes, July 29, 2022

Wall Street firms face W.Va. boycott over alleged fossil fuel bias Politico, June 13, 2022

West Virginia Targets BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase Under 'Anti-ESG Investing' Law Responsible Investor, June 14, 2022

The Texas Law That Has Banks Saying They Don’t ‘Discriminate’ Against Guns New York Times, May 28, 2022

Republicans Can Stop ESG Political Bias, WSJ, May 26

America’s Political Right Has a New Enemy No. 1: ESG Investors Bloomberg May 20, 2022

GOP directs culture war fury toward green investing trend AP May 19, 2022

State legislation tracker The Foundation for Middle East Peace

California Push to Seat More Women on Boards Ruled Unlawful Bloomberg May 16, 2022

How Red States Are Trying to Snuff Out Green Investing And why the messy preemptive strike against ESG may fall flat. New York Magazine, May 16, 2022 

GOP Vows to Shut Down ESG if It Wins Congress Ignites May 2, 2022

Some states’ anti-ESG push garners support in Congress Roll Call April 28, 2022

Sustainable Investing Failed Its First Big Test. A Reckoning Is Coming Barron's April 17, 2022

Conservative Group Seeks to Block State Pensions from ESG Efforts April 13, 2022

Nasdaq Board-Diversity Regulations Face Another Court Challenge Bloomberg Law October 5, 2021

Nasdaq Board Diversity Quotas Challenged in Federal Court by the Alliance for Fair Board Recruitment Cision August 18, 2021

 

B. Pushback on SEC's Climate Disclosure Rule

How an Organized Republican Effort Punishes Companies for Climate Action New York Times May 27

SEC Planned Crackdown on ‘Misleading’ Funds Goes Far Beyond ESG Bloomberg Law May 26

Lawmakers Seek to Curb Voting Power of BlackRock, Vanguard and Other Big Asset Managers Wall Street Journal May 18, 2022

Fight Brews Over Cost of SEC Climate-Change Rules Wall Street Journal May 17, 2022

SEC’s Proposed Climate Change Rules Face Backlash — Here's Why Market Realist May 17, 2022

 

C. Asset Manager and Finserv Sector Response

BlackRock Launches Ads to Dial Down the Political Heat Ignites June 7, 2022

BlackRock, JP Morgan, others tell Texas they don't boycott energy companies Reuters May 19, 2022

2022 climate-related shareholder proposals more prescriptive than 2021 BlackRock Presentation

Blackrock to vote for fewer climate shareholder provisions in 2022 than 2021 CNBC May 11, 2022

BlackRock to back fewer shareholder resolutions in this AGM season Reuters May 10, 2022

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