Standing for “environmental, social, and governance,” ESG is becoming increasingly popular with the largest companies
The Epoch Times recently hosted a screening of “The Shadow State,” An exclusive documentary that describes the Environmental, Social, and Governance movement (ESG), which is gaining popularity among the most powerful corporate and government institutions.
“The Shadow State,” Directed and narrated in part by Kevin Stocklin of The Epoch Times, the documentary demonstrates how left-wing social positions have been pushed on corporations by some the most powerful people in America as well as around the world. The documentary was screened at the Conservative Political Action Coalition in Maryland on March 3.
Stocklin stated that ESG was established at the core level. “to bring corporations together and make them part of a global movement to create a better world.”
However, he explained that the exact meaning was unclear. “depends on who you ask.”
ESG is a movement of left-wing policy objectives that has de facto grown in recent years as global power players used their wealth to advance the goals. ESG-compliant corporations advocate policies such as the total elimination of fossil fuels. “clean” Energy, partial or total bans on Americans’ firearm ownership rights, and support socially left-leaning positions regarding issues relating to race and gender.
Stocklin is narrated “The goals of ESG include disinvestment in fossil fuels, cutting pollution, reducing the use of gas-powered cars, subsidizing wind, solar, and electric cars, fighting for social justice, racial, and gender equity, [Diversity, Equity & Inclusion] DEI training to diversify your corporate board’s race and gender, taking a stand on abortion, gun control, voting polls, and transgender events.”
ESG is an outspoken opponent of beef and animal-based meats, in particular beef. Its advocates have encouraged people to eat edible insects or plant-based replicas of meat instead of real meat.
BlackRock CEO: ‘You Have to Force Behaviors’
At the core of this movement are three of the largest financial firms in the United States—global advisers like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street—and the transnational World Economic Forum (WEF). It also has the support and backing of powerful billionaires, like Bill Gates. He has used his immense wealth to promote ESG by funding plant or insect-based alternative meats.
The ESG movement was worth $19 trillion in 2014. The number of ESG-compliant companies and individuals holding assets worth $55 trillion has more than tripled over the last nine year. ESG compliance is expected to be a major part of the global financial assets under management by 2025.
Stocklin stated that the players in this system are wealthy and well-connected.
They “include the world’s largest asset managers, who together control more than $20 trillion in investments. It includes America’s largest public pension funds. It includes the world’s largest banks. It includes global clubs of CEOs and political leaders, like the World Economic Forum, and it includes a host of other activist finance clubs such as Climate Action, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, and the Net Zero Asset Management Initiative.”
Stocklin however stated that the WEF was the most important player in ESG-related worlds.
Klaus Schwab founded the WEF and is its leader. The WEF brings together business executives and politicians once a calendar year in Switzerland to decide how they will work together towards common goals.
“The future is not just happening,” Schwab stated this during a WEF summit, a comment that is indicative of ESG proponents. “The future is shaped by us.”
When a company signs onto the ESG movement, they must pledge to use their corporate power to reduce fossil fuel production in favor of things like wind and solar energy, and electric cars.
Larry Fink (CEO of BlackRock), a strong supporter for ESG, explained. “Well, behaviors are gonna have to change, and this is one thing we’re asking companies [to do].
“You must force behavior.” Fink added. “At BlackRock, we’re forcing behaviors.”
For instance, ESG-compliant banks like Goldman-Sachs and J.P. Morgan have announced that they will no longer fund oil drilling in the Arctic as part of ESG goals.
Stocklin explained: “The ESG movement is made up of the largest investment managers, banks, insurance companies, and pension funds around the globe. The ESG sector has a staggering $55 trillion of assets and is projected grow to almost $100 trillion by 2025. This movement has been supported by more than 500 corporations and industries, including media and finance.”
As part of the effort to “Force behavior” several firms have arisen to rate companies on how well they keep the tenets of ESG; companies that find themselves with a poor rating can contract out with newly created ESG firms that help the corporation to increase their ESG rating through internal policy changes.
The most valuable companies and organizations in the world are not the only proponents of ESG ideology: the core principles of the movement have also made their way to the boardrooms of Big Tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
For instance, most social media platforms—with the exception of Twitter, which is privately owned by billionaire Elon Musk—have policies in place that limit what users can say publicly. In the past, users espousing conservative positions on climate, COVID-19, race, and gender and sexuality have been subject to removal, temporary suspension, or “Shadow bans” which limit the reach of someone’s posts.
After Musk’s takeover of Twitter, it was made known to the public that Twitter had in the past colluded with the federal government to remove and censor posts.
“These are available for the government to use [social media] Companies can do through the backdoor, what they couldn’t through the front door due to the Constitution. We have a pesky little thing called the First Amendment in this country.” Vivek Ramaswamy, a tech and finance entrepreneur, told Stocklin.
Stocklin said during an interview on the documentary that the interplay between Big Tech and big government has developed into a “Give and take.”
“They share a relationship that benefits them both.” he explained. “Big Tech is prepared to act as censors of government narratives. We saw evidence of this willingness and they were willing to censor The New York Post. [Joe] Biden ran for President.”
Here, Stocklin was citing the controversial decision by Twitter, Facebook, and other major social platforms to limit the reach of a 2020 New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop. The younger Biden had left his personal laptop at a computer repair shop and never picked it up.
Whistleblower testimony to Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, included as part of a major 1,050 page report released in November, indicates, among other findings, that the FBI may have colluded with Big Tech platforms to suppress ideas and stories that went outside of the official narrative.
This was most prominent during the fallout of the New York Post’s story on Hunter Biden’s laptop, which appeared to show the younger Biden committing a litany of crimes, including possession of crack cocaine, and a photo of him standing beside a girl who appeared underage dressed in prostitute-like attire. Whistleblower findings alleged that the FBI played a role in the suppression of the story.
The story was discovered by the New York Post, a conservative-leaning media outlet that was founded by Alexander Hamilton. After posting the story to its Twitter page, the New York Post’s account was suspended by the platform pending the removal of the story. Similar suppression followed with other media outlets that reported on the contents of the laptop.
But this example, while the best known, is not the only one, Stocklin said.
“We have seen many other cases of the government censoring information even though COVID of Facebook and Google was in effect.” Stocklin said, citing tech platforms systematic censorship of posts and comments critical of COVID-19 government policies, masks, and the novel mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.
“What big tech got in return is an administration that’s willing to overlook their oligopolistic control.” Stocklin added.
ESG Movement Relies on Fear: Stocklin
Stocklin said that, while making the documentary, he was “struck” by “How willing people are to sacrifice their basic rights when they feel afraid” adding that fear and crisis terminology are used to the benefits of the elite groups in charge of the ESG movement.
Stocklin said that the biggest proponents of ESG are aware of this fear response that many have, and have sought to use that fear against Americans.
“It all appears to be emergencies and crises.” Stocklin said. “Much of it seems to be an attempt to intimidate people into giving up their rights and joining these hidden elitist groups.”
And these elitist clubs have a lot to gain from ESG, Stocklin said. He explained that a veritable ESG industry has arisen in recent years.
As an example of the interplay between private firms and the government in pushing ESG, Stocklin pointed to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring that all listed companies report their CO2 emissions and their plans to reduce them.
“This is a major boost for the ESG industry.” Stocklin explained. “This makes it clear who is the beneficiary. Companies like State Street, Vanguard, and BlackRock are permitted to charge higher fees because ESG funds are managed funds.”
As ESG has grown more popular, several firms have also popped into existence promising to help certify ESG compliance and repair the ESG scores of firms who step out of line.
“This will also benefit all those with vested interests.” Stocklin said.
Pensions on the Line
Stocklin added that the core tenets of ESG work against the interests of investors, including investment accounts meant to provide retirement funds.
Though many think of the ultra-wealthy when they think of the stock market, Stocklin emphasized that this is far from the case.
“People need to realize that when we speak about shareholders, it is us.” Stocklin said.
“This is our pension fund. This is our retirement savings. This is our saving. CEOs don’t act in the shareholders’ interests.”
Stocklin said it was unclear if corporations’ primary motive in pursuing ESG was profit, or rather genuine belief in its ideas.
“They can act either [because] They believe in this ideology.” Stocklin said.
As an example, he pointed to Disney’s recent disastrous crusade against a Florida law prohibiting discussing sex with children ages 9 and under in public schools. Liberal critics of the legislation dubbed it the “Do not be gay” bill, and several corporations and the ultra-wealthy fought against the bill.
Ultimately, Disney was one of the corporations that fought the bill, which ended in a revenue disaster for the company: Disney World had its independent self-governing status stripped away; its stock price plunged, and its movies underperformed at the box office.
Stocklin explained, “[Disney] said this was … a human rights issue [to them]. They have been sexualizing their content, and they have been pushing critical race theory.”
This is inexplicable from a shareholder perspective, Stocklin said.
“This is bad news for shareholders. Their subscriptions are falling off on Disney Plus; they’re getting families boycotting their theme parks And, even as horrible as the market has been, their stock price has been twice as bad—and declining—as the general market. This is very bad news for retirees and shareholders who want to rely upon the value of these shares in retirement.”
“On the other side,” Stocklin added, “Disney’s ESG score saw a nice rise in 2022, likely due to a lot of this behavior.”
Despite the confluence of powers undergirding the ESG movement, Stocklin expressed cautious optimism that the movement could be defeated.
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