Peak ESG is behind us: They’ve stopped bragging about environmental wokeness.

The Elephant in the room. The vested interests rule.

By Jo Nova

Environmental wokeness has become a liability for investors

The backlash against  ESG has hit bonds, stocks, corporates

In a recent survey, half of large investors in North America now admit to worrying that ESG exposes them to legal risk. When companies want to create a Green-Woke project they issue ESG bonds to get loans to build it, but sometime between last year and this year those Bonds have halved. Suddenly companies are not dressing up in the Big Green cloak. That’s $6 billion in ESG investments that didn’t happen.

The change in direction has been driven by Florida and Texas and the 19 or more states that have joined them.  Even though the $2b in funds Ron De Santis pulled from BlackRock et al last year was a drop in the ocean for a $10 trillion dollar fund, it was the tip of a spear at the heart of the beast. The financial houses and asset managers were using other people’s money to force through political changes those same people didn’t want to vote for. If the crowd followed De Santis the whole game was up.

De Santis has just tightened the screws further today:

DeSantis Steps Up Attack on ESG as Florida Bars Public Investments

By Marvin G Perez, Bloomberg

The new legislation prohibits Florida municipalities from selling bonds tied to ESG projects, as well as imposing restrictions on seeking ESG ratings. In 2022, Florida issuers sold $13 billion of long-term bonds, making it the fourth-largest issuer in the US, behind California, New York and Texas.

The law also bars Florida’s public money from being deposited in financial institutions that are deemed to pursue “social, political, or ideological interests” in their investment decisions. Florida had almost $37 billion in state deposits…

It’s a phase change in the US with an exodus from ESG Bonds:

US ESG Bond Market Chokes on Republican Backlash, Investor Angst

By  , Bloomberg

Companies sold about $6 billion of bonds last quarter to pay for projects that help the environment, achieve a social goal, or improve their governance, a type of debt known as ESG. That’s down more than 50% from the same time last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, which focused on companies outside the financial industry.

Many investors are reconsidering their approach to ESG. Almost half of North America’s biggest investors worry that the politics around ESG securities in the US exposes them to legal risks, according to a global survey of firms overseeing $27 trillion published last month.

Texas is boycotting funds that boycott fossil fuels:

Meanwhile in the US, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar in August 2022 first listed 10 firms and more than 340 individual funds that “boycott energy companies,” a designation that compels state-run entities like pension managers to sell their holdings.

“This represents a material shift in the conversation around ESG,” Texas Comptroller Hegar said in an emailed statement. “The shine is wearing off as Americans discover that ESG investments are not only failing to deliver the financial returns that their proponents promised, but also simultaneously distorting the free market incentives that actually might move the needle on some of the policy objectives that ESG investments supposedly support.”

So now they scramble to look non-Woke

In March Texas added HSBC to the blacklist. HSBC protested saying that it doesn’t “consider itself to be boycotting the financing of energy companies,” but last year they sacked Stuart Kirk for saying that investors don’t have to worry about “climate risk” years from now. HSBC’s political agenda is obvious.

Instead of discussing how they might not know snow, now companies are talking about the risks of “anti-ESG” efforts.

Carbon markets, carbon trading, climate money, burning carbon credit image. Jo Nova.Bad news for Eco-Worrier-finances has piled on in the last six months. Environmental investors lost 22% last year — in the same year that Energy investors made 54% gains. In December  Vanguard dropped out of GFANZ, the glorious Glasgow banker accord. In January, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock complained the attacks on ESG were getting ugly and personal. Shucks. Where was he when bankers called us “climate deniers”?

Companies are laying low on ESG as backlash intensifies

Emily Peck,  Axios

Companies don’t want to talk about their environmental, social and governance goals anymore, experts in ESG and communications tell Axios.

State of play: Anti-ESG forces are in full swing this proxy season — the time of year when public companies host their annual meetings, and shareholders vote on a slate of investor proposals.

      • A dozen financial companies, including BlackRock, Blackstone and KKR, now list anti-ESG efforts as a risk in their annual reports, the Financial Times recently reported.
      • Investors have filed 68 anti-ESG proposals this year to date — compared to 45 in all of 2022, per data from the Sustainable Investments Institute, a nonprofit.
      •  BlackRock CEO Larry Fink didn’t mention the term ESG anywhere in his most recent investor letter, a departure from those of the past several years, as Axios’ Andrew Freedman reported.

Wall Street titans confront ESG backlash as new financial risk

Patrick Temple-West and Brooke Masters, Financial Times

Wall Street’s largest asset managers, private equity firms and brokers have warned that a backlash against sustainable investing is now a material risk, in filings that show how acrimony over ESG principles has become a perceived threat to profits.

A dozen big US financial companies including BlackRock, Blackstone, KKR and T Rowe Price added language to annual reports filed in the past month cautioning that pressures such as “divergent views” or “competing demands” on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing could hurt financial performance.

The collapse in bonds is not happening yet in Europe where ESG Bond sales are up this year. It’s very much starting and spreading from the US states. Share the stories, copy the mechanisms. Use the words “fiduciary duty”, “due diligence”, and if you are in the US “anti-trust”.


h/t Bill in AZ, NetZeroWatch UK

10 out of 10 based on 71 ratings

44 comments to Peak ESG is behind us: They’ve stopped bragging about environmental wokeness.

  • #
    Kalm Keith

    There’s some good news in that.
    It’s heartening to find that the tide may be turning but there’s been many lives broken in the wokewash of the last half decade.
    In a fully functional society there would be a day of reckoning or else the manipulators will simply start up with a new scam.


    • #

      Don’t forget that Morrison announced his Net Zero policy because not to do so would incur higher interest on his massive borrowings over Covid. It’s like committing suicide because you think you have a terminal illness. Now we are finding out there was a cure.


    • #
      David A

      Keith, you are so correct in the harms done. And they are global in nature. From Chiefo’s blog.

      “Congratulations, NeoCons & Globalists! You have made the biggest Own Goal ever!

      “Sanctions” having been applied to just about everyone not in the USA & EU, have finally succeeded! Unfortunately, they did not succeed in harming Russia. They succeeded in destroying The Western Monetary System.

      The Greens and Global Warmistas, having shouted to the whole world that Oil MUST END! and in under 12 years too; have managed to break the partnership of Saudi Arabia with Europe & the USA.

      Nothing like telling a few countries who’s entire economy depends on oil that you are going to put them out of business… and then expect them to stay on your side.

      So what have we got now?

      Pretty simple, really. The Rest Of World (ROW) is setting up a Parallel Economy. See, when YOU become an un-trustworthy lout who lawlessly steals other folks money and stuff; they choose to avoid you. It really is that simple.

      So The USA & EU decided to go on a Theft Spree. “Confiscating” various assets of Russia (and others prior too). The result the first time was the formation of BRICS. Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (back when South Africa was “sanctioned” for not being woke enough). This time, with BRICS already in place, the result of locking folks out of SWIFT (international money transfers), shutting off VISA & M.Card, and stealing money from banks is all entirely predictable.

      China needs oil. Russia and Saudi Arabia have oil. China has money. Russia has gold. Russia wants Chinese Manufactures (since our “sanctions” say they can’t buy ours). So these folks just all got together and issued a big FAT MIDDLE FINGER to the USA & EU.

      BRICS is now BRICS+ with the plus being about another dozen to 18 countries who have applied to join. It has most of the population of the planet in it, along with most of the oil and manufacturing. Oh, and a whole lot of money. The West has debt…

      So Saudi Arabia has told the USA & Biden to go bugger off and is now trading oil in “National Currencies”. You can now kiss off the “Petro Dollar”. Why do they need the $US if the USA will not be buying their oil? Why do they need the $US to buy Chinese made goods?

      So Russia and the BRICS have set up their own “Settlement system” and no longer need SWIFT. They have started trading oil in national currencies. And they are creating their own alternative to the World Bank and SDRs (Special Drawing Rights). Their own international settlements currency – backed by gold. Did I mention that Russia, China and Saudi Arabia have a lot of gold?…”

      Always a great read


  • #

    Regular investors want profits.
    With rising interest rates, fashionable fad investing no longer attracts funding…


    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Regular investors want regular profits, and don’t like management “taking their eye off the ball” and going after fashionable but questionably profitable causes.
      This will have a flow-on effect on the ESG mob as they all want money (lots of money) and drying up of ‘contributions’ will reduce their influence with all politicians (all want money-lots of money).


  • #

    All investors are now facing much tougher times ahead and the treasonous ESG lunacy should be thrown into the rubbish bin forever.
    It’s just another way to damage the wealthy OECD countries’ futures and their vile CC extremism should now follow ASAP.
    If the Biden donkey does stand again in 2024 everyone should wake up and commit to helping the GOP candidate defeat this fool, because the USA can’t afford another 4 years of the DEMs delusional anti- science agenda.


  • #

    So how long before a bus load of kids are engulfed in one of these crazy EV fires?
    Lithium batteries can burn for hours and the EV passenger exit time is very short.
    This Ford truck fire event was sourced after a FOI inquiry and luckily nobody lost their lives- this time.
    Just another reason you should never waste twice the money on a TOXIC EV vehicle.
    Anyway why should you risk your passengers lives when you’re all sitting on top of a half ton time bomb? When will we wake up?


    • #

      It can happen at home too.
      This is new news for me, but sounds like it’s been around for a while:

      Dave B


      • #

        Yes David and it can and does happen in houses while you’re charging your EV car or EV bike or whatever.
        And I keep asking why anyone would waste twice the money on these small dangerous, TOXIC EV disasters when you can’t pull a caravan or trailer or a boat?


        • #

          “And I keep asking why anyone would waste twice the money on these small dangerous, TOXIC EV disasters when you can’t pull a caravan or trailer or a boat?”

          Because we have been told too. Of course Chris Bowen’s plans to “make ev’s more affordable” by increasing the costs to purchase an ICE vehicle is the ideal way.


    • #
      Tom Appleton

      Search “bus fire battery Paris”, watch the video.
      A battery powered bus is engulfed in flames in seconds as the battery pack explodes, looking like a fireworks display gone wrong.


  • #
    Graham Richards

    Pretty soon there’s going to be a big backlash as insurance companies caught up in the CC trap will have to hugely increase premiums or do as this Norwegian company has done & refuse to carry EVs.
    Can you imagine the left & government shouting & screaming when reality bites here in Australia,


    • #
      David Maddison

      I guess what will happen in Australia is that the Government will force insurance companies to insure EVs with subsequent higher premiums for IC vehicle owners.

      EV owners usually have high incomes and are fully woke and should be able to pay higher insurance premiums anyway.


    • #

      They could carry them in a tag along barge. If there is a fire simply cut the rope.


  • #

    There are only a limited number of firms really interested in ESG silliness… (mainly because of what they think they can get out of it financially)

    Once that gets saturated, the sillimess subsides as financial reality kicks in.


  • #
    David Maddison

    For new readers not familiar with the term ESG, it stands for “Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance”.

    With ESG, investments are driven by woke political agendas rather than what’s in the best interests of investors (with examples of qualifications as follows).

    1) Unfortunately, market forces are often distorted by Government policy so that it is more profitable to harvest subsidies than produce and supply a product efficiently. An example is Australia, land of fanatical subscription to ESG, whereby coal electricity for the domestic consumer might cost A10c/kWh at free market prices, but wind and solar subsidy harvesters charge 30c, the extra 20c being due to government policy on the use of expensive and unreliable solar and wind production. In that case the subsidy harvesting corporation profits at the expense of the consumer. That would be a rational business decision for the corporation but wouldn’t happen in a free market. If government policies forcing purchase of wind and solar were removed, wind and solar companies would go broke overnight.

    2) Another recent example was abusing the traditions and beliefs of traditional consumers of your product. That was the case when Anheuser-Busch used a “celebrity” transgender to be the new face of their Bud Lite product and then lost US$6 billion of market cap and lost huge sales of the product as well.

    In the absence of government policies encouraging it as per the above examples, ESG leads to some very bad and unprofitable decisions leading to the expression popularised (but not invented) by Milo Yiannopolous:

    Get woke , go broke.

    The actual expression was invented by John Ringo.

    See for details.


  • #

    This week their ABC has been yapping about 15 to 19 years old young people’s fears and mental health anxiety about CC.
    And of course fuelled by stupid FED Labor and state Labor govts.
    This young group are so fearful that a number of them resort to hard drugs too help alleviate their pain.
    But wouldn’t it much easier to show the data that proves we are living in the SAFEST period in Human history today?
    In fact deaths from extreme weather events have dropped by 95+ % over the last 100 years. IOW why don’t all govts and all of the teachers and all of the MSM + so called scientists etc alleviate their pain by simply telling them the truth?
    But I’m sure we all know why, don’t we?


  • #
    Frederick Pegler

    The virtuous signaling accounts are starting to fall due.


  • #
    Richard C (NZ)

    >”So now they scramble to look non-Woke”

    Like a herd of gregarious animals. Extremely pernicious if you get off-side with the herd.

    Especially the banking herd:

    ‘Trudeau’s government orders Canadian banks to unfreeze bank accounts of people who participated in or donated to Freedom Convoy after woke leader [Trudeau] was condemned for authoritarian behavior’

    Other nasty herds:

    The Global Ministry of Truth Censors Conservatives and Their Advertisers to “Starve Them to Death”

    Scientific Consensus – A Manufactured Construct

    Freedom, truth and civility are not mission critical to such herds.


    • #
      Richard C (NZ)

      Re article >”Scientific Consensus – A Manufactured Construct”

      O/t so I’ll be brief. Author is MARYANNE DEMASI, formally a a TV presenter on ABC’s top ranking science program Catalyst.

      I’m not familiar with any of that but OZ readers will probably be interested in what Maryanne has to say in the section: Consensus in mainstream media (in respect to ARPANSA).

      “Eventually, the ABC banned the program and “restructured” the department by firing the staff. What the network believed would be a quick solution had serious and far-reaching consequences.

      It would not only deter future journalists from questioning orthodoxy, but it sent a chilling message that the ABC would succumb to industry pressure and favour scientific consensus.”


      • #

        Thanks Richard,
        Demasi’s story achieved what I thought was impossible – she’s made the ABC sound worse than I thought.

        But I disagree with one part of her proposition:

        ” A widely accepted theory, such as the theory of evolution, depends on a consensus being reached among the scientific community, but it must be achieved without censorship or reprisal. ”

        In my view there is no need for any use of “consensus” to accept the theory of evolution. It has survived many attempts to discredit it, and a number of experiments, with insects and plants if I remember correctly, have supported it.

        Knowledge of the evidence on one hand, and flaws in the attempts to discredit it justify acceptance of the theory, but not consensus.

        Dave B


  • #

    Yet , here in Australia , it would seem the green blob continues. Report today in the Australian- “ The big banks are backing the federal government’s plan to accelerate the greening of the economy, including the introduction of sovereign green bonds, consistent clean energy standards and home ratings, and measures to clamp down on false claims”. Sounds like ESG to me.


  • #

    Now the dopey Mayor of New York wants to tell people what to eat and they’re monitoring all sorts of data to catch the worst offenders.
    Why are people voting for these lame brains? Surely there are more intelligent people to vote for that won’t wreck your city and way of life?
    Anyway how does this help mitigate their delusional CC fantasies?


  • #

    So how many people understand that the recent Greening of the planet has 25 times stronger “cooling effect” than the warming caused by Humans because of tropical deforestation.
    Here’s the NASA source and their quote. Just another benefit of extra co2 in our atmosphere.
    Why isn’t this co2 impact via the Greening of our planet and cooling taught to our kids and reported by the MSM around the world?

    “The greening of the lands during the first fifteen years in the 21st century represented an additional heat dissipation (2.97×1021 J) from the surface equivalent to five times the total energy produced and used by humans in 2015 (5.71×1020 J). This greening-induced cooling effect was twenty-five times stronger than the warming effect caused by tropical deforestation”.


  • #
    John Connor II

    Judge throws the book at Just Stop Oil protesters: Eco activists who scaled a bridge over the Dartford Crossing and caused 40 HOURS of gridlock are jailed for FIVE years in record sentence for climate action

    Two Just Stop Oil protestors who scaled a bridge over the Dartford Crossing and caused 40 hours of gridlock have been jailed for five years in a record sentence for the climate group.

    Morgan Trowland, 40, and Marcus Decker, 36, blocked one of the busiest stretches of road in the country during their climate protest on October 17 last year.

    The pair hoisted a banner between two pillars of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which links the M25 in Essex and Kent, and slept in hammocks in freezing temperatures overnight.

    The road beneath was closed by police for fears over their safety, causing traffic chaos – they were eventually arrested after coming down the following day.

    Today at Southend Crown Court Trowland and Decker were jailed for three years, and two years and seven months, respectively after being found guilty of causing a public nuisance.

    Everyone’s getting sick of these loony ignorant climate morons.


    • #
      David Maddison

      Hopefully FIVE YEARS jail is just the “introductory special” and future activist-criminals will get a more substantial penalty. preferably in jail cells without heating or cooling.

      In Australia, activist-criminals are generally not punished, if ever.


    • #

      About bl****** time.


  • #

    Enrironment, Society and Governance. Environment is ONLY about carbon Pollution.. Not overfishing, Whales, desertification, urban sprawl, water, Rhino populations etc.

    Cambridge dictionary: Pollution. Damage caused to water, air, etc. by harmful substances or waste:

    – – – – –

    I would love to know how anyone classifies carbon dioxide as pollution? Who says? It makes every living thing a polluter. Without CO2 we are all dead.

    And we are being told that all herbivores, camels, giraffes, rhinos, kangaroos, okapi, buffalo and cows, sheep, goats and deer are major polluters. And need to be eliminated.

    Why not include humans, orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and dolphins, whales, manatees?
    Butterflies, cockroaches, termites. Meer cats and porcupines. All fish. All birds. Lichen and moss. Especially trees and grasses.
    Cellulose decomposes to methane, so plants are much worse than butterflies.

    – – – – – – –

    It is amazing it has come to this. Ecology and chemistry twisted to suit a political purpose, a hatred of life on earth posing as ecology.

    We are not polluters. From amoebae to the Blue Whales, it’s our planet.

    V-Line in Victoria is not a ‘major polluter’ as is claimed. Nor is every other train line in Australia. Nor is the Spirit of Tasmania ferry.

    CO2 is perfectly natural. Methane CH4 is perfectly natural. They are not pollution. And all fossil fuels are rotted plants, so perfectly natural.

    I cannot believe science has become so polluted by politicians. It’s all about money and power. As usual.


    • #

      CO2 existed long before life on earth.

      CO2 is the simplest of molecules formed by two of the common elements on the periodic table. One carbon and two oxygen atoms. Mankind did not invent CO2! Mankind did not invent internal combustion. It powers all living things. Our breath is 4% CO2.

      CO2 existed long before the first cell. It is the essential molecule which captures the sun’s energy and so powers all life on earth as hydrated carbon dioxide or carbohydrate.

      Now it is a poison.

      Now it is alleged we humans have increased deadly CO2 in the air by a lousy 50% in 250 years. That is great, except it’s not true.

      The very rapid and massive exchange of the gases CO2 and H2O between the oceans and the atmosphere has been going on for five billion years. And 3.7 Billion years ago the miracle of life started, thanks to CO2. And the same very rapid and massive exchange makes it impossible for humans to change CO2 levels.

      Without CO2 we would not exist. We are made from CO2. We burn like wood because we share 60% of our DNA with bananas. And 80% with slugs. On average we share 50% of DNA with plants and potatoes even have more chromosones, 48 instead of 46. Maybe Prince Charles is right?

      So now CO2, the gas of all life, is industrial pollution according to the UN? And CO2 from old plants, the most soluble gas in the air, 30x more soluble than oxygen, now stays in the air forever?

      I would say you could not make it up, this fake science. But I would be wrong.

      And how many millions of people are making their entire livings from this very destructive climate scientology religion?

      This insanity has to stop. It’s not science. It’s the biggest fraud in human history and getting bigger.


      • #

        I am reminded of the excellent South Park parody, the Circle of Poo based on the Circle of Life in the Lion King. One minute in, as a song. Except you could replace poo with CO2. Pollution? No, it’s the circle of CO2.


    • #

      Yes, ban the Meercats-
      I can’t stand those TV ads.


  • #
    James Murphy

    They’ll just pivot to new ways to extract money, it’s not over, not by a long shot.

    California is talking about changing the way people pay for electricity – linking it to how much you earn, and presumably the value of your property too.

    Mind you, South Australia does that already, with water, well, technically the sewage charge that is calculated based on the value of the property.


  • #

    ESG isn’t dead in Australia. Australian Institute of Co Directors pushes this and Climate Change nonsense to its members.


  • #
    Richard C (NZ)

    Bloomberg >”Many investors are reconsidering their approach to ESG”

    U.S. ESG Funds Shrink at Fastest Pace Since 2015

    “March saw the largest outflows on record since 2015. Some $14 billion flowed out of ESG funds.”


  • #
    • #

      Their poor Board must struggle to understand what this ESG stuff really is.

      Their Corporate Governance Statement (6 Nov 2022) has a clear “Key Responsibility” of the Board that says:
      “considering the social, ethical and environmental impact of our activities including the effects of climate change,
      and setting standards and monitoring compliance with our sustainability policies and practices” (my emphasis)

      But their official Board Charter (12 August 2022) does not mention “climate change” (specifically) at all. It only says:
      “Considering the social, ethical and environmental impact of (our) activities,
      setting standards and monitoring compliance with (our) sustainability policies and practices.” (my abbreviation)

      So some time between August and November, activist folks needed to make sure the board didn’t just read between the lines.
      Maybe that’s a problem with so called “independent directors”?


  • #

    Here’s more about how the extra co2 has caused more greening around the world and that extra greening has also dropped temperatures over the last few decades.
    China and India have increased greening the most and both are are now growing more crops and planting trees.
    Australia is greening as well and about in the top 6 countries and there are forecasts/graphs for more global greening out to 2100.
    It’s a paradox that co2 global greening causes a drop in temp, but they still insist we must reduce our co2 emissions. I’m not convinced.
    Here’s NASA’s finding that co2 global greening slows warming…… BUT?


  • #
    Kevin a

    Watch the Ford F-150 Lightning Fire That Stalled Production for Five Weeks
    Ford has since resolved the battery issue, contacting 18 owners with a recall notice.


  • #

    the tip of a spear at the heart of the beast.

    Wonderful phrase, Jo. Poetic and prophetic.


  • #

    Peak ESG might be behind us but not in Australia. Peak stupid still dominates.


  • #

    I hope this takes off. A project I’m working on for a Japanese company, through an agency, includes the company’s ESG report. And they are really, really proud of it. Problem is it’s the greatest load of horse manure I’ve ever seen put into words: around 400 pages of breathless braggadocio about their environmental credentials that they could easily fit into around 10-15 pages.
    To think that anyone would wade through so much verbiage to read anything that might be useful or important (there isn’t any) is deluded. I’ve been toning down the language on it (it’s a translation from Japanese to English) and editing the hell out of it, but to mix metaphors, there’s only so much lipstick you can put on a turd.

    Next year when this rolls around again, I’ll taking some strategically timed holidays.