In this election season, it may be easy to assume politics are limited to candidates and their TV ads. However, in recent years many in Southwest Virginia and elsewhere across the country have become alarmed to learn that politics is now influencing–or some would say “corrupting”–many aspects of American life.
For example, many college campuses have long been political hotbeds, as clearly seen in the 1960s protests. Recently, however, many parents have become aghast at the politicization of K-12 schools as well.
Moreover, politics is making big inroads into many familiar companies as well, as this Roanoke Star column recently explained about Kroger. A term first coined in 2005, ESG–which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance–sounds harmless enough. Supporters claim it focuses on ethical business practices and sustainability. In short, it claims to call on big businesses to be forces for good in the society instead of merely focusing on the bottom line. Opponents, in contrast, view ESG as a modern-day Trojan Horse designed to sneak leftwing views into corporations so that they make decisions based on political considerations instead of what is best for consumers, employees or stockholders.
As ESG has played a bigger role in many corporations and stock investments, it has sparked a growing backlash among the leaders of many states. For example, earlier this month the state of Louisiana took the remarkable step of divesting from mega-bank BlackRock over ESG policies.
Stepping into this growing debate, Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares announced this week “that members of a multistate coalition including 19 attorneys general have served six major American banks with civil investigative demands, which act as a subpoena, asking for documents relating to the companies’ involvement with the United Nations’ (UN) Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA).
“The banks under investigation include Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. NZBA-member banks must set emissions reduction targets in their lending and investment portfolios to reach net zero by 2050. Missouri is leading the investigation, with Arizona, Kentucky, and Texas also serving as leadership states on this investigation.
“’The U.N’s Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which includes American companies, punishes Virginia farmers and Virginia companies that deal with fossil fuel-related activities. Virginians are not subject to UN business standards. That’s why I’ve joined a coalition of attorney generals investigating six major American banks for ceding authority to a foreign body,’ said Attorney General Miyares.
“In addition to Virginia, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas have joined the Missouri-led investigation into to the six banks. Five other states have joined but can’t be named due to state laws or regulations regarding confidentiality.”
Both Wells Fargo and Bank of America have branches in Roanoke as well as other locations in Southwest Virginia.
A positive view of ESG from esgenterprise.com
A negative view of ESG from esghurts.com