Attorney General Jason Miyares today joined a 22-state coalition of attorneys general warning the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance (NZFSPA) that their coordinated commitment to the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) agenda may violate state and federal antitrust and consumer protection laws.
The NZFSPA is a cooperative syndicate of financial service firms, including “index providers, auditors, stock exchanges[,] and research, rating and data providers.” Together, the syndicate pledges “to accelerate the transition towards global net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to help deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement.” By aligning their products and services with the Paris Agreement’s exacting specifications, the companies are necessarily acting to artificially restrict the supply of goods and services, which restrains trade, inhibits innovation, suppresses output, and harms consumers.
“Customers expect financial service firms to make objective decisions that will produce the best possible outcome for their clients. By failing to inform consumers of these conflicts of interest, NZFSPA’s financial service firms are essentially taking actions to hamper the flow of goods and services to align with the Paris Agreement’s unrealistic standards. Such frivolous practices risk stunting our economy and seriously harming Virginia consumers,” said Attorney General Miyares.
Additionally, the coalition highlights that many NZFSPA signatories are direct competitors, yet they commit to using their market influence to enforce their collective climate agenda. These pressure tactics are backed up by substantial market power, and the NZFSPA’s coordination may run afoul of United States antitrust law and its state equivalents. Further, the substantial commitments of NZFSPA signatories do not appear consistent with laws protecting consumers.
In order to appropriately respond, the coalition called on the NZFSPA to provide additional information that will help states better understand their commitments and related policies. Ultimately, the attorneys general are committed to protecting consumers and ensuring businesses operate within the bounds of the law.
Attorney General Miyares was joined in the letter by state attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
You can read the letter HERE.