A standing rule of any organization is that personnel is policy. A new investigative report released by the American Accountability Foundation shines a light on how Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing is not a strategy intended to increase returns, but rather is a tool for global elites who wield their enormous financial power—with other people’s money—to achieve their liberal political ends. 

Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street collectively represent 80% of all passive investors, which includes 401(k) investments, IRA and brokerage accounts, and pension and institutional funds. These investment houses use your money to achieve controversial environmental and social goals like “anti-racism” training, fossil energy divestment, and instituting race- or gender-based hiring quotas. While these policies have failed to gain traction in Congress and have been struck down in the courts, they are becoming increasingly popular in the Davos jet-set crowd. 

As the report suggests, the driving force behind this trend may be the new revolving door between liberal politics and Wall Street. Leaders of these investment houses, including Larry Fink who is the CEO of BlackRock, have denied that ESG is about politics or any particular social or ideological agenda and emphatically stated that ESG “is not woke.” But the mid- to lower-level staff at these investment houses responsible for the day-to-day implementation of ESG investing suggest otherwise. Many of them have earlier careers as partisan staff for liberal politicians and leftist organizations. Given the alignment between ESG goals and the woke agenda heralded by many Democrats, it’s hard to see past the obvious coordination.

The rank and file ESG “stewardship teams” come from the Offices of Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and former President Obama as well as the left-wing non-profits like the Center for American Progress. Others are serving on boards for progressive organizations, including Resource Generation, which “offers programming that encourages members to see capitalism not as a market-based equalizer promising upward mobility, but as a damaging system predicated on, ‘stolen land, stolen labor and stolen lives.’” 

These are just a few examples of the many that the AAF report extensively covers. The liberal aligned goals and the outcomes lay out a clear indication that ESG is a mechanism for advancing a woke agenda that benefits the political left while producing lower returns for investors. Statements suggesting otherwise should be taken with a grain of salt.

The ESG agenda, just like the woke agenda it perpetuates is causing serious harm like lost value for retirees and broader economic degradation. While ESG acolytes will get paid their high dollar fees, either way, the rest of us will be left with the consequences.  

This is why many states like Florida, New Hampshire, Texas and West Virginia are pushing back. Congress should take note as well.