OKLAHOMA CITY (LifeSiteNews) — The Oklahoma State Treasurer’s Office has announced that it will bar 13 major financial institutions, including BlackRock, J.P. Morgan, and Bank of America, from doing business with the state over their boycotting of energy companies in the name of so-called “environmental, social, and corporate governance” (ESG) standards.
Last year, Oklahoma enacted a law requiring it to divest from companies that boycott the fossil fuel industry, and the treasurer’s office subsequently sent inquiries across the corporate world as to which companies had such practices.
On May 3, the office announced that almost 160 financial institutions responded, and based on their answers 13 of them are going on the Restricted Financial Companies List: BlackRock, Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, State Street Corp., GCM Grosvenor, Lexington Partners, FirstMark Fund Partners, StepStone VC Global Partners, WCM Investment Management, William Blair, Actis, and Climate First Bank. Others may be added to or removed from the list every 90 days.
“The energy sector is crucial to Oklahoma’s economy, providing jobs for our residents and helping drive economic growth,” said Oklahoma State Treasurer Todd Russ. “It is essential for us to work with financial institutions that are focused on free-market principles and not beholden to social goals that override their fiduciary duties.”
“The energy sector is crucial to Oklahoma’s economy, providing jobs for our residents and helping drive economic growth,” Russ added. “It is essential for us to work with financial institutions that are focused on free-market principles and not beholden to social goals that override their fiduciary duties.”
The move is the latest in a national trend of pushback against the proliferation of ESG scoring systems in the financial sector, which 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. ESG is one of the reasons why so many companies in recent years have attempted to influence public policy on issues such as homosexuality, transgenderism, race relations, and abortion.
Nineteen states – Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming – have formed a coalition to collectively agree to resist ESG standards in a variety of ways, such as banning their use in state pension-fund investment decisions, banning the use of “social credit scores” in banking and lending practices, and banning ideological discrimination against customers by financial institutions.