Texas Leading The Fight Against Woke ESG Investing
U.S. energy-producing states are at war with some of the world’s largest asset managers and banks over the financial institutions’ ESG-aligned investment policies, which, the states say, show that those financial firms are boycotting the oil and gas industry.
Texas, the largest oil-producing state in America, is leading the campaign against this movement. Just last week, the Lone Star State published a list of financial firms that could be banned from doing business with Texas, its state pension funds, and local governments. [bold, links added]
At the core of the dispute lies the growing trend of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment that many financial firms have embraced amid criticism from shareholders and investors that they sponsor fossil fuels.
Texas and other Republican-led oil and gas states, however, see the ESG investment trend as an implicit attack on fossil fuels and a boycott of conventional energy resources, the revenues from which make up a large portion of state budgets in the oil, gas, and coal country.
The blacklist includes the world’s biggest asset manager BlackRock, as well as BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse Group, Danske Bank, Jupiter Fund Management, Nordea Bank, Schroders PLC, Svenska Handelsbanken, Swedbank, and UBS Group. The list of funds is much longer. It includes nearly 350 funds, including Goldman Sachs Bloomberg Clean Energy Equity ETF, Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta Paris-Aligned Climate U.S. Large Cap Equity ETF, and JPMorgan U.S. Sustainable Leaders Fund.
“My greatest concern is the false narrative that has been created by the environmental crusaders in Washington, D.C., and Wall Street that our economy can completely transition away from fossil fuels, when, in fact, they will be part of our everyday life into the foreseeable future. A complete divestment of the industry is not only impractical and illogical but runs counter to the economic well-being of Texas and our citizens,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a statement.
The oil and gas regulator in the state, the Railroad Commission of Texas, welcomed the Comptroller’s move and said that “Texas is leading the fight to curb the expansion of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) movement, a woke investment strategy that places a priority on subjective environmental and social metrics instead of financial metrics that ensure quality returns for investors.”
“Texas is where ESG extremists will meet their match. We are sending a clear message to Wall Street: If you boycott Texas oil and gas, we boycott you,” Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian said.
“I’m thrilled to see my conservative colleagues join the defense against ‘woke’ Wall Street bankers,” continued Christian. “Rally the troops: Here in Texas is where we will draw the line against ESG’s detrimental impact on oil and gas.”
BlackRock, the world’s top asset manager, reiterated its position it is not boycotting fossil fuels.
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