(LifeSiteNews) — Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday forged an alliance with 18 other governors to combat the woke Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) agenda that, the governors argue, “threatens the vitality of the American economy and Americans’ economic freedom.”
DeSantis and the 18 other governors made the declaration in a March 16 policy statement.
“We as freedom loving states can work together and leverage our state pension funds to force change in how major asset managers invest the money of hardworking Americans, ensuring corporations are focused on maximizing shareholder value, rather than the proliferation of woke ideology,” they declared, according to a press release put out by DeSantis’ office.
The alliance came in response to U.S. President Joe Biden’s threat to veto a joint measure put forward by Congress that would roll back a Biden-prompted Department of Labor rule authorizing the consideration of ESG factors by retirement plans making investment decisions.
The other states joining DeSantis in the public statement are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The governors argue that the “proliferation of ESG throughout America is a direct threat to the American economy, individual economic freedom, and our way of life, putting investment decisions in the hands of the woke mob to bypass the ballot box and inject political ideology into investment decisions, corporate governance, and the everyday economy.”
ESG principles and related scores are designed to promote investment in companies that advance broadly left-wing social justice goals, including “renewable energy,” racial “equity,” and even, in post-Dobbs America, abortion access.
Multi-trillion-dollar asset managers, including BlackRock, Vanguard Group, State Street, Fidelity Investments, and Capital, have adopted ESG principles in their investing strategies, leading critics to express concern about the groups’ power to shape corporate policy and starve out opposition.
Rather than simply decrying the situation, however, Gov. DeSantis and his 18 allies on Thursday committed to take action on behalf of Americans against the predations of woke investment policies.
According to the press release, the governors are exploring a variety of options to protect American taxpayers, including “blocking the use of ESG in all investment decisions at the state and local level, ensuring that only financial factors are considered to maximize the return on investment, protecting retirees and taxpayers alike.”
In order to do so, state and local governments might choose to scrap any consideration of ESG principles “when issuing bonds,” or bar “state fund managers from considering ESG factors when investing taxpayer money.”
In addition, the governors expressed their commitment to “[p]rotecting citizens from ESG influences in the financial sector.”
Methods might involve “banning the financial sector from considering so-called ‘Social Credit Scores’ in banking and lending practices aimed to prevent citizens from obtaining financial services like loans, lines of credit, and bank accounts.”
Additionally, the state leaders said they are looking at “stopping financial institutions from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs, such as owning a firearm, securing the border, or increasing our energy independence.”
Last year, The Impact Investor reported that ESG scores wouldn’t always be limited to corporations.
According to the site, personal ESG scores are already in the works and are set to take in a full range of personal data points up to and including personal beliefs, leading to punishments and rewards for personal behavior.
“Buying a gun, alcohol, or even clothing will all affect your overall ESG score,” the blog noted, adding, “Not only will your purchases matter, but who you purchase from and how they do business.”
“Your political affiliations also factor into your personal ESG score,” the resource continued. “The type of car you drive, how often, and even how many people are in the car when you drive will also come into play when deciding your score.”
Prior to the March 16 declaration, states across the nation have taken individual actions to curb investment in ESG ideology, including pulling their resources away from ESG-endorsing asset managers like BlackRock.