Lawmakers to Target ‘ESG’ Investment Decisions

Lawmakers to Target ‘ESG’ Investment Decisions

By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis outlined a legislative proposal Monday to expand rules to prevent state pension investments that use ratings he and other Republican leaders consider “woke.”

DeSantis said the legislation, which will be pursued during the legislative session that will start March 7, would block all investment decisions based on “environmental, social and governance” standards, known as ESG. The proposal would include addressing such things as where financial reserves are deposited and state and local bond issues.

The proposal is also expected to seek ways to prohibit financial institutions from using “social credit scores” and making lending decisions in a “way to try to change people’s behavior, to try to impose politics on what should just be economic decisions,” DeSantis said during an appearance at Florida SouthWestern State College.

“If buying solar panels, companies and all that, if that is what is going to return the best, you are not restricted at all,” DeSantis said. “You are only restricted if ESG is the rule, because there could be lucrative areas you’re just not going to do because of the politics of it.”

House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, said the legislation is intended to counter asset managers at companies like BlackRock — the largest asset-management firm in the world — that “take all of our money and they invest it in one narrow ideological direction. They don’t speak for your voice or mine. They speak for their voice.”

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, a leading proponent of ESG metrics, in a letter last year to corporate executives, said companies using the standards are “performing better than their peers.”

A Dec. 8 report from Infosys Research, an information-technology company, concluded that “increased ESG investment correlates with higher profits.”

“Many companies focus ESG efforts on the environmental segment with commitments to carbon neutrality, net zero, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Infosys reported. “However, there are also opportunities to improve financial results through social and governance initiatives. Research data shows social initiatives like board diversity correlate to improved profitability.”

Last year, DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, sitting as trustees of the State Board of Administration, directed pension-fund managers against “using political factors when investing the state’s money.”

As part of the directive, investment decisions must be based only on “pecuniary factors,” which can’t include “social, political, or ideological interests.”

Republican leaders in Florida and other states have targeted ESG for taking into account issues such as climate change, racial inequality and supply-chain labor standards.

A news release from the governor’s office said the proposal would stop “financial institutions from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs — like owning a firearm, securing the border or increasing our energy independence.”

“They really want to jam this on society,” DeSantis said. “They don’t really have the persuasive ability to get this done through the democratic process, so, they’re hoping if they can just get this spreading to all the elite rungs of society then they can just impose it and basically, we just have to sit and take it. That’s not going to happen in the state of Florida.”

Patronis also barred state asset managers from using any of the $5.1 billion in the Florida deferred compensation program, a supplemental pension coverage offered to more than 93,000 state employees, from making investments associated with ESG strategies.

Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, will sponsor the legislation outlined Monday by DeSantis.

Sen. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, has filed legislation (SB 110) that would put into law a requirement for State Board of Administration evaluations to be based solely on “pecuniary factors.”

9 Responses to "Lawmakers to Target ‘ESG’ Investment Decisions"

  1. Larry Fink and his ilk are evil, full stop. Blackrock a multitrillion dollar corporation sets the standards for publically traded corporate risk rankings which causes these clowns to fall in line with ESG and Fink’s risk ranking algorithms. To say those following this insanity are profitable is a blatant lie, don’t believe it. It is only profitable in the completely rigged market of these crony capitalists. Forget Russian oligarchs, they are a joke compared to our own globlist oligarchs that run the USSA.

    ESG is the primary reason all these filthy corporations have gone “woke”. It is a blatant anti-trust violation and racketeering. In a sane world all these criminals should be arrested, tried, and sent to jail. But the Globohomopedobiomedfascist USSA colludes with Blackrock and its ESG agenda to further its fascist growth.

    What the morons on the left don’t realize is, ESG may benefit them now, but it can quickly turn on them. For example, ESG downgraded weapons/ammunition manufacturers. When the Ukraine war became the next favorite thing to care about for these murderous globalists, Fink and Co. changed the ESG ratings of these manufacturers. So much for being socially conscious. Endless wars and mass murder are very profitable.

  2. ESG sells. Plain and simple. Nobody heard about BlackRock 30 years ago. At some point, this company made a decision to bet on ESG. Today, it is a US$10 trillion asset management empire. The largest in the world. The second largest empire – US$7 trillion Vanguard – did the same. The third largest – $US 4 trillion State Street – followed with ESG pledge as well. One needs to be an incredible idiot to believe the soundbites from one power-hungry politician that people running these companies are guided by some political or social nonsense. They are for ESG because it is profitable these days to be for ESG, It gives the best rate of return on investments. Who is really making decisions based on economics and who is motivated by scoring political points?

  3. “A news release from the governor’s office said the proposal would stop “financial institutions from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs — like owning a firearm, securing the border or increasing our energy independence.”

    This is what small government conservatism is all about; protecting us from people that would discriminate against us for our social beliefs! Private companies deserve to be told how to operate by the government, it is the only way that the free market can actually operate! Finally, a true small government conservative! Thank goodness for Ron DeSantis!

  4. I never heard of Infosys Research. Who wrote the report? Why should I believe this anonymous person at a company unknown to me?

    I know who Ron DeSantis, Ashley Moody and Jimmy Patronis are. What they are saying makes sense, as usual. I believe them.

  5. I wish Desantis would enact legislation that limits local government’s authority and ability to tax.

    Your tax dollars should not go toward: PBS television ads, electric buses, clown cars, loans to buy appliances, run a utility company, a men and boys group, a citizens police review board, a junk yard at the airport, a BLM mural on a road, a bus line, boondoggles for commissioners, notebooks for jail inmates, and similiar non essential services better dealt with in the private sector.

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