The Deadly Threat of 'ESG'

In recent months there has been growing awareness about the detrimental nature of the environmental, social and governance construct known as ESG. Using the pretense of social diversity and environmental protection allegedly needed to repair damage caused by capitalism, ESG represents an expanding threat to many industries, to the larger corporate culture and increasingly, to America itself.

The ESG construct creates competing frameworks, reporting systems, and scoring systems for environmental and social reporting—but without quantifiable economic measurements or metrics. While presently focused on publicly traded companies, ESG is being used to evaluate private companies and eventually even individuals, thus creating a social credit score not unlike what Communist China uses to oppress its citizens.

While the origins of ESG reach back over two decades, with the initial funding by the World Economic Forum (WEF) of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the network that grew from that initial effort consists predominantly of governments, non-profit organizations, and large publicly traded companies and their capital and banking partners. Together they have created a validation feedback loop that promotes political and social change using the capital markets—other peoples’ money—to re-direct investment capital toward companies that align with the political and social worldview of ESG activist profiteers.

Guess who?

Though touted as a non-political effort, but sounding conspicuously ideological, the progenitors of ESG assert,“ without the intervention of non-market entities such as the state, international organizations and social forces, capitalism as an economic system simply will not safeguard our planet."

While the legality of re-directing investor capital to achieve political and social outcomes has yet to be adjudicated, there is no question that banking and asset management firms intend to force political change.

In 2017, BlackRock CEO, Larry Fink, said he intended to change the direction of corporate America. “At Blackrock we are forcing behaviors,” he said of the company’s ESG scoring approach. “You have to force behavior, and if you don’t force behavior whether it’s gender or race or any way you want to say the composition of your team, you’re going to be impacted.”

By incentivizing companies with the prospect of higher management and consulting fees, and the ability to direct the capital toward companies in their portfolios that reflect their politicized world view, investor "best interest" is sacrificed. Best interest, a legal obligation, has never been part of the calculus of the ESG gangsters. Knowing that markets and democratic institutions would never offer them a path to their vision of the world, they need other peoples’ capital to force the creation of their dark, unfree world.

While profit-making would still not make ESG social scoring any more acceptable, the current capital re-orientation efforts have been unequivocally disastrous for investors. In June, BlackRock posted a stunning $1.7 trillion loss of investor capital, the largest loss ever for a single firm in a six-month period. Helping BlackRock achieve these disastrous outcomes was Unilever, run by Alan Jope. The consumer-goods giant put its sustainability plan to a shareholder vote where it passed with 99.6 percent shareholder support. Let’s hear it for groupthink!

At the time Jope said he credited BlackRock with leading the support and described the investment firm as "one of the finest commentators on sustainability and what companies should be doing.” Not surprisingly Jope was recently fired. Investors don’t agree with BlackRock’s Fink, Jope or the WEF. Jope’s tenure began in 2019 and he immediately began parroting the WEF’s stakeholder capitalism spiel and espoused the same ESG mandates promoted by BlackRock.

Jope-a-dope.

Through this alignment of overly interested global actors and self-interested financial services actors, the ESG construct has been able to get a footing in the boardrooms of publicly traded companies. But needing to create the perception of upholding fiduciary obligations, "stakeholder capitalism" has become the philosophical underpinning ESG. By expanding and conflating shareholders (investors) with stakeholders (everyone else), the activist class believes it can perpetrate an anti capitalist slight-of-hand: changing a free society into a centrally planned and controlled society.

According to WEF Founder, Klaus Schwab, "stakeholder capitalism" is a system in which private corporations are moral trustees of society and work for the benefit of everyone. Stakeholder capitalism is celebrated by BlackRock to Bank of America and from the WEF to Wall Street. Certainly not groups one thinks of as “working for the benefit of everyone.” Toward their centrally planned end, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said, "to uphold the principles of stakeholder capitalism, companies will need new metrics. For starters, a new measure of 'shared value creation' should include 'environmental, social, and governance' (ESG) goals as a complement to standard financial metrics. Fortunately, an initiative to develop a new standard along these lines is already under way, with support from the 'Big Four' accounting firms and the International Business Council.”

Unconcerned about the rights of investors, and feeling triumphant over publicly traded companies, ESG activists are now more assertively turning their sights toward private equity and even individuals. While many of the largest private equity firms have already willingly begun to report their ESG data, many still do not. According to CDP’s strategy document:

Accelerating the Rate of Change: 2021-2025… businesses, including private companies, need to overhaul their operations and ensure they will remain viable within environmental boundaries. Governments must set the example and provide the regulatory environment that supports and encourages responsible corporate action.

The message is clear: do what you’re told or you will not be permitted to participate in their centrally planned society. From publicly traded companies to private companies, the activists class intends to control everyone, including individuals.

Those efforts are already beginning. Bans on natural gas-powered stoves and heating systems in California and Washington State for new construction are already in place. But even closer to home are the new generation of appliances. Some features are only available through an app the owner must upload on their phone. No app, no access to those feature. More creepy still are pregnancy tests. Traditional indicators like +/- or single versus double bars have announced to women for years of the impending arrival of a crumb cruncher. In the new world of social scoring, however, those tests now offer a “result reader” that is available through an uploaded app on her phone. Slowly changing the behavior of consumers will allow these societal score-keepers to more easily track an individual’s carbon footprint.

Many legal challenges loom against ESG advocates and the firms that do their bidding. As in previous conflicts throughout history, victory isn't won simply by the efforts of businesses, but rather by individuals willing to defend the lines of liberty and personal autonomy.

Main Street v. Wall Street on 'ESG'

In recent weeks there have been giant strides in the effort to challenge the legality of the "Environmental, Social and Governance" (ESG) construct that has become a threatening obsession of the titans of Wall Street. Though ESG remains a unfamiliar acronym for most Americans, Main Street investors whose pension dollars are funding ESG investments are beginning to ask questions.

While constituting competing frameworks, reporting systems, and scoring systems for environmental and social reporting for companies, the ESG construct lacks any quantifiable or worthwhile measurements. Put plainly, it is an entirely subjective scheme, created and funded by political activists. Under the pretense of environmental protection and social diversity, these activists recognized that they had allies in the financial services and banking sectors who could be incentivized to do via the capital markets that which the activists knew they could never achieve using traditional market forces or democratic institutions. In short, voters would never agree to ruin their own economies, livelihoods and futures in the name of political ideology. To be successful, it necessarily needed to be stealthy and unchallenged.

Recognizing this reality, attorneys general Jeff Landry and Todd Rokita of Louisiana and Indiana issued a letter earlier this month warning their states’ pension boards that ESG investing is likely a violation of fiduciary duty and potentially opens their investment staff and investment advisers to liability if they continue allocating funds to ESG-promoting asset managers such as BlackRock.

Fink: BlackRock or black hat?

The Landry and Rokita letters follow another letter sent last month from them and seventeen other state AGs to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. That letter warns the asset management giant that BlackRock’s ESG investment policies appear to involve what they describe as, “rampant violations” of the sole interest rule, a well-established legal principle. The sole interest rule requires investment fiduciaries like BlackRock, to act to maximize financial returns, not to promote social or political objectives.

Yet, it is clear that BlackRock and industry counterparts are doing precisely that. They are attempting to use the ESG pretext of "protecting the environment" to re-orient trillions of dollars of their clients’ capital toward what are unquestionably their own political and social objectives. This effort is borne out in the companies in which they invest and the trends they curate and then fund. As is repeatedly touted in the literature of the most prolific ESG advocates, they believe that because their asset management partners, including BlackRock, manage such a substantial percentage of the total investment market, their ESG world view is above constraint of law, or beyond the reach of the institutions that have traditionally protected investors from dubious investment schemes.

ESG reporting and scoring is a scheme initially launched over two decades ago with the creation and funding of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) by the World Economic Forum (WEF), both of which advocate for political and social objectives. Out of the initial CDP funding effort has grown a network of non-profit entities, foundations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and, via the incentive of profit, the largest asset management firms and banks in the world. Together they constitute a validation-feedback loop. Left unconstrained, their political and social objectives will be paid for by investor capital, potentially in defiance of the best interest of their investors.

Marx: definitely a black hat.

So does this history square with Blackrock’s framing of their ESG policies? To answer, one need only start at the top, with BlackRock CEO, Larry Fink and his affiliation with the WEF, the originators of the Great Reset. The WEF, by mission, seeks to shape global, regional, and industry agendas, underpinned by so-called "stakeholder" theory, the mechanism needed to integrate communist principles into economic practice without getting sullied by the bloody history malignant socialism has left in its wake. According to the WEF:

The market mechanisms under capitalism do not provide incentives for preserving the environment. Firms are constantly threatened by market competition to cut costs and optimize profit. The environment thus falls prey to the compulsive market behaviour of the capitalist mode of production. Without the intervention of non-market entities such as the state, international organizations and social forces, capitalism as an economic system simply will not safeguard our planet.

With Fink as a Trustee Member of the WEF and an Agenda Contributor, one must assume Fink agrees with the objectives of the WEF. Is he an agenda-contributor who represents the views of BlackRock’s clients or, as it appears, is he ensuring that the Forum's agenda gets codified into and funded by the capital markets using BlackRock’s investors’ capital? Is it possible that Fink is doing the bidding of the stakeholder-focused Davoisie, in defiance of the sole interest of BlackRock’s own clients? With a recent $1.7 trillion loss in the first six months of this year in its ESG-indexed funds—the largest amount of money lost by an individual investment firm over that time period—one could certainly argue that he is doing just that. 

In his 2021 Letter to CEOs , for example, Fink regurgitates key WEF concepts. “We have long believed that our clients, as shareholders in your company, will benefit if you can create enduring, sustainable value for all of your stakeholders.” Apparently, shareholders just took second seat to the stakeholders. So much for sole interest. He continues, “In January of last year [2020], I wrote that climate risk is investment risk. I said then that as markets started to price climate risk into the value of securities, it would spark a fundamental reallocation of capital.” But it turns out that capital re-orientation is a stated goal of the WEF-funded CDP too:

 Through its engagement, advocacy and partnerships, CDP helps align corporate and governmental strategies with international goals, supports investors to shift capital to finance the low carbon transition; and changes expectations, ambitions and practices to pave the way to a new, restorative and sustainable society. CDP helps align corporate and governmental strategies with international goals, supports investors to shift capital to finance the low carbon transition; and changes expectations, ambitions and practices to pave the way to a new, restorative and sustainable society.

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The BlackRock/WEF cabal has also made its way into the highest reaches of government as well. Brian Deese serves as the Director of the National Economic Council (NEC). As a non- cabinet level position, it doesn’t require Senate confirmation. The confirmation process would have allowed an opportunity to challenge Deese’s obvious conflict of interest; a former Obama advisor and a passionate advocate of ESG, Deese became global head of sustainable investing at BlackRock in 2017 before joining the Biden administration.

Similarly, in June 2022, Tom Donilon, chairman of the BlackRock Investment Institute, the firm’s global think tank, was appointed by secretary of state Anthony Blinken to co-chair the Foreign Affairs Policy Board. The board advises State on "strategic competition" with Beijing. Coincidently, last September BlackRock was permitted to open a mutual fund in China, making it the first American firm approved to sell financial products there.

With a future fraught with legal questions about ESG, perhaps investors should remind BlackRock of the difference between their sole interest and BlackRock's self-interest.

Godzilla vs. King Kong

Late last month during a multi-day interview with a Chinese virologist and researcher who is in hiding in the U.S, I had a revelation about how the largest institutional banks feign having principles, while they avoid actually being principled. While the country is being beaten about the head with a counter-factual accusation that the two greatest threats to America are systemic racism and climate change, there exist actual geo-political and economic threats that require real leadership and genuine principle.

I had driven to the secure location to meet the doctor and followed extensive protocols to ensure her safety. What Dr. Li-meng Yan reveals about the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese military’s malevolent misdeeds surrounding the release of the SARS CoV-2 virus left me pondering how reason has been replaced by such rhetoric.

COVID-19 is an "unrestricted bioweapon" that slipped from a Wuhan facility. This claim was according to a Chinese virologist who fled to the United States after claiming that China covered up the coronavirus epidemic. Dr. Li Meng-Yan, a whistleblower, claims that a trove of Dr. Anthony Fauci's emails backs up her assertions. In an interview with Newsmax, the Chinese whistleblower said she had emailed Dr. Anthony Fauci about her theory and "discovery."

The messages - obtained through the Freedom of Information Act - implied that the White House virus expert knows the possibility of the virus being manufactured. However, The Sun claimed Fauci downplayed it publicly. 

Dr. Li said that Fauci's emails revealed on Tuesday by Buzzfeed and the Washington Post show he knew about the Chinese tinkering with viruses to make them more lethal. "Frankly, there is a lot of useful information there [Fauci's emails]," she said in The Sun's report. "He knows all these things," she insisted of Fauci in a New York Post report.

Ground Zero.

So how has "climate change" superseded Covid-19 as an existential crisis, as Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, in his annual ‘letter to CEOs’, thinks it has? China’s continued cunning and sinister shenanigans, in all their variations, have been conspicuously overlooked; instead of identifying the Chinese Communist Party, and all its many tentacles, as the greatest existential threat of our time, Fink posits a counter-factual. China after all makes money for BlackRock  through investments. Having actual corporate values guided by principle does not.

Dr. Yan, a medical doctor and published researcher who specializes in immunology and vaccine development, and is an independent coronavirus expert, was forced to flee Hong Kong last year because she declared that the SARS CoV-2 virus had been engineered in a lab and that it indeed had gain-of-function characteristics -- in other words, it was weaponized expressly to increase virulence in humans. While  more will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead about Dr. Yan’s knowledge of these events, it is clear that Larry Fink may need to spend a bit more time using the BlackRock’s annual RAND Corporation subscription. In his letter to CEO’s he writes,

I believe that the pandemic has presented such an existential crisis – such a stark reminder of our fragility – that it has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully and to consider how, like the pandemic, it will alter our lives. It has reminded us how the biggest crises, whether medical or environmental, demand a global and ambitious response.

In the past year, people have seen the mounting physical toll of climate change in fires, droughts, flooding and hurricanes. They have begun to see the direct financial impact as energy companies take billions in climate-related write-downs on stranded assets and regulators focus on climate risk in the global financial system. They are also increasingly focused on the significant economic opportunity that the transition will create, as well as how to execute it in a just and fair manner. No issue ranks higher than climate change on our clients’ lists of priorities. They ask us about it nearly every day.

How Fink jumped from a pandemic to climate change being a global threat while overlooking China as the global threat that demands a global and ambitious response, requires the flexibility of a Shabari submissive.

Enter the oil and gas industry. Under the false narrative of "climate change" representing an existential threat, oil and gas is described as the industry most responsible for said climate change. Neuter the industry and climate change disappears is the contrived narrative espoused by the politicians and their corporate collaborators.

To date, the oil and gas industry has been slow to counter punch. Instead of its  being the cause of climate change, the oil and gas industry has single-handedly led the reduction of American emissions to levels lower than defined in the Paris Climate Accord. By producing inexpensive, reliable, and abundant energy safely and without political objectives, the oil and gas industry has fueled global economic activity and improved lives of people throughout the world.

By contrast, in the skinny jean-wearing world Fink envisions, the economic vitality fueled by the oil and gas industry is blunted, and only a few are permitted to economically benefit. Every aspect of life in this brave new "Great Reset" world becomes more expensive, more confiscatory, and more Socialist if the climate change narrative is left unrebutted. Enter China.

China’s record of environmental degradation and abuse is well known and well documented. With 1.4 billion people, many living in utter poverty, a manufacturing sector whose carbon emissions are suffocating, and largely unregulated, and a Party that controls society via a digital surveillance state the Chinese people refer to as the "Great Wall," China is the actual existential global threat, not the climate change bogey man.

Tomorrow belongs to us.

Since 2012 when Xi Jinping began his tenure as party General Secretary (he became President the following year), more than 2 million Uyghurs have been sent to Mao-style "re-education" camps. At these camps, estimated to number more than thousand, Muslim Uyghurs have been abused, tortured, sexually assaulted, forcibly sterilized, and even killed. But climate change is the real threat?

Beyond environmental degradation, human rights abuses and corruption, the Chinese practice censorship with the help of tech companies, manipulate currency markets, steal intellectual property, have militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea, and most recently, according to Dr. Yan, have used unrestricted novel bioweapons, intended to harm people and to arrest economic activity around the world in their stated pursuit of world dominance by 2035. But institutional racism and climate change are the problem?