Commentary: Mutual Funds Are Using Your Money to Push ESG

The mutual fund industry has gone “woke.” It’s not just the asset managers who screen socially “unacceptable” companies in industries involving, say, guns, fossil fuels, tobacco, or gambling. Those have been around for decades.

No, there’s something else amiss. And if you’re investing your hard-earned money, you might be part of the problem.

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Merchant Banking Organization: Gun, Ammunition Purchases by Credit Card Will be Coded

An unloaded handgun sitting on the center console of a vehicle with the magazine clip next to it

The international organization responsible for creating merchant category codes for credit card purchases has given its approval to establish one for transactions made at gun stores.

The International Organization for Standardization’s Registration and Maintenance Management Group met on Wednesday to discuss a request made by Amalgamated Bank to set up such a code.

An ISO spokesperson told The Center Square that RMMG members could not decide whether to approve the application. That elevated the discussion to the ISO leadership that oversees standards for retail financial services.

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State Prohibits Florida Retirement System from Investing in Funds That Prioritize ESG

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the trustees of the State Board of Administration, CFO Jimmy Patronis and Attorney General Ashley Moody passed a resolution Tuesday updating the state’s investment and proxy voting policies for its retirement system and pension plan. The resolution prohibits state fund managers from investing state money in funds that comply with the ideological agenda of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). The resolution also calls for an internal review of the state’s governance policies over the voting practices of the Florida Retirement System Defined Benefit Pension Plan.

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Kimberly Yee Pushes Back Against Company for Potential Antisemitic Behavior

Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee (R) recently shared that she notified Morningstar Inc. that they have 30 days to prove they are not actively boycotting Israel and breaking Arizona law.

“As Treasurer, it is my duty to ensure that Arizona does not do business with companies that are attempting to undermine Israel’s economy and violate Arizona’s anti-BDS law,” Yee said. “I will not allow companies to promote policies that are antisemitic and discriminatory efforts against Israel, which is America’s longtime friend and ally, and a significant trade partner with Arizona.”

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Commentary: Conservative Americans Can No Longer Conduct Business – and Commerce – as Usual

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was a long-awaited victory for life. While Dobbs did not make abortion illegal, it did empower the residents of all 50 states to democratically determine abortion’s legal status through their elected representatives. Currently, 22 states provide or will soon provide protection for unborn children. The other 28 states place few or no limits on abortion. The abortion battle will now move to the ballot box in each state.

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Bank of America Shareholders Band Together Against Company’s ‘Woke’ Practices

A group of shareholders in America’s largest bank has banded together to fight against the company’s “woke” policies.

Members of a group called The Boardroom Initiative issued a shareholder proposal that rebuked some of Bank of America’s “wokeness,” and though the proposal was shot down, members of the group remained upbeat.

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States Preemptively Banning ESG Practices Pushed by Big Capital

States across the country are preemptively banning Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scoring, which some say would lead to a massive consolidation of wealth among the most powerful investment companies in America. 

“In an attempt to secure vast amounts of wealth and influence over society, corporations, bankers, and investors, working closely with key government officials, have launched a unified effort to impose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards on most of the industrialized global economy. (ESG standards are also referred to as ‘sustainable investment’ or ‘stakeholder capitalism.’),” Justin Haskins at The Heartland Institute said. 

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Commentary: BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Warns Environmental, Social and Governance Investors Ukraine War Will ‘Slow the World’s Progress Toward Net Zero’ in Near Term

Larry Fink

Blackrock CEO Larry Fink warned Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investors in his $10 trillion hedge fund’s annual shareholder letter that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and the resulting Western sanctions on Russia — had disrupted globalization and interdependent supply chains and would result in “increasing oil and gas supply” in the U.S. and “coal consumption may increase over the next year” in Europe and Asia to offset the drop in Russian exports.

As a result, Fink projected, “This will inevitably slow the world’s progress toward net zero in the near term,” referring to ESG goals like net zero global carbon emissions by 2050 that would encounter challenges, particularly as American consumers pay much higher prices with consumer inflation up 7.9 percent and producer inflation up 10 percent the past twelve months.

Those price pressures will mean more oil and gas production immediately, Fink said.

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Commentary: ESG Investing Is Politics by Other Means

Before Joe Biden’s election, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing was sweeping all before it. Wall Street was coming to the planet’s rescue and saving capitalism at the same time. It was a self-serving myth. As I show in my new report Capitalism, Socialism and ESG published today, doing well by doing good is no more than Wall Street sales patter. But since the election, financial regulators have been falling over themselves playing catchup.

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