FRANKFORT, Kentucky (LifeSiteNews) – Kentucky is the latest state taking measures to disincentivize corporations from left-wing activism, this week threatening to divest the state from 11 companies that boycott energy producers.
On Tuesday, the office of Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball released a list of 11 financial institutions that “are engaging in energy company boycotts”: BlackRock, BNP Paribas SA, Citi Group, Climate First Bank, Dankse Bank A/S, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Nordea Bank ABP, Schroders, Svenska Handelsbanken, and Swedbank Group.
If the named entities do not reverse their boycotts within 120 days, Kentucky threatens to divest its funds from them.
“When companies boycott fossil fuels, they intentionally choke off the lifeblood of capital to Kentucky’s signature industries,” Ball said in a press release that noted the energy sector represents 7.8% of Kentucky’s total employment and 94.5% of its electrical power generation. “Traditional energy sources fuel our Kentucky economy, provide much needed jobs, and warm our homes. Kentucky must not allow our signature industries to be irreparably damaged based upon the ideological whims of a select few.”
“I hope that we get some changes from people, and that’s ultimately what we want,” she told the Washington Examiner. “We hope that they’ll make some changes. … I’m hopeful that in the next few months, we’ll see some different behavior from them.”
The remove represents growing pushback to the rise of so-called “environmental, social and corporate governance” (ESG) standards in corporate America.
ESG is essentially a scoring system that incentivizes investing in companies not on the basis of their performance for customers and shareholders but rather on their fealty to so-called “social justice” principles such as diversity and environmentalism. It is one of the reasons why so many once-apolitical businesses have in recent years taken stances on issues such as homosexuality, transgenderism, race relations, and abortion.
Other states to push back against ESG include West Virginia, Texas, and Florida, which last year banned ESG as a factor in state pension fund investments. Conservatives have suggested like-minded states band together to amplify their influence against the ESG trend, which in turn would weaken and discourage so-called “woke corporations’” efforts to transform the culture.