A columnist for the liberal outlet Bloomberg took a sledgehammer to the woke environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards movement currently plaguing corporate America.
Bloomberg Global Business Columnist Adrian Wooldridge blasted the ESG movement and its super-woke cousin, the diversity, equity and inclusion movement (DEI) as “the ruling business ideology of our age” in a Sept. 26 op-ed. Those six letters, Wooldridge argued, have generated “massive industries” and powered leftist investment giants like BlackRock Inc., State Street Corp. and Vanguard Group Inc.
Wooldridge then unleashed a barrage on “[t]he apostles of ESG” for being “as guilty of overselling their product as they are of intellectual sloppiness.” Ouch.
Wooldridge added that the ESG movement packs “buzzwords” together that are “ineffective or even counterproductive.” In effect, the incoherence of ESGs could end up undercutting its green utopian vision and “also distracts from the mission that initially set the buzzwords afloat — preventing the world from overheating in the first case and tapping a wider range of talent in the second,” Wooldridge noted.
Wooldridge continued, pointing out that ESG standards have proved themselves to be an inconsistent mess.
“ESG didn’t even provide a reliable template for how to deal with an obvious evil such as Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Stephen Bainbridge of UCLA Law School points out that European corporations with major operations in Russia prior to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine typically had higher ESG ratings than those who were not operating in Russia.” [Emphasis added].
Even a more detailed analysis of ESG investment portfolios revealed that “companies in ESG investment portfolios violated more labor laws, paid more fines and had higher carbon emissions than those in non-ESG portfolios sold by the same institution,” according to Woolridge, citing a study published in the Review of Accounting Studies of American mutual funds between 2010 and 2018.
The return-on-investment of ESG funds appears even worse. Wooldridge cited a 2021 literature review of more than “1,100 peer reviewed studies” and “27 published meta-analyses” showing that “ESG investing has on average been indistinguishable from conventional investing.”
But if ESG funds are blatantly biased and financially useless, why do they exist at all? The answer is politics, according to investor Vivek Ramaswamy. “Under the banner of ‘stakeholder capitalism,’ CEOs and large investors work with ideological activists to implement radical agendas that they could never pass in Congress,” Ramaswamy wrote in his 2022 book Woke, Inc.
Wooldridge refused to run afoul of the left entirely, criticizing anti-ESG warriors like Florida Republican Gov. Ron Desantis for “bundling lots of different things together” in the battle against ESG standards. But in an apparent nod to the anti-ESG crowd, Wooldridge conceded that the “world’s greatest capitalist powers — first Britain and then America — were responsible for abolishing the slave trade and the practice of slavery.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact ABC News at 818-460-7477, CBS News at 212-975-3247 and NBC News at 212-664-6192 and tell them to report honestly on the ESG movement’s silent takeover of corporate America, which is driving up gas prices and sneaking woke values into the business world.