By Patrick Tyrrell
Everywhere you look, leftist members of big investment companies like BlackRock Inc. and “woke” CEOs at companies like Delta Air Lines Inc. prattle on about “ESG,” which stands for environmental, social, and governance responsibility.
Environmental, social, and governance responsibility advocates force companies to take positions in the political arena on issues that may have nothing to do with the company’s actual business activities.
Typical targets include use of fossil fuels, Second Amendment rights, and welfare policy. In their self-righteous elitism, environmental, social, and governance responsibility advocates have no qualms about the use of shareholders’ assets—other people’s money—to promote their various political causes.
Companies like Delta Air Lines provide air transportation to customers. Because people choose to buy their services, airline stewardesses, mechanics, and pilots, among others, have jobs. The employees of corporations can choose to donate a portion of their paychecks to woke causes if they choose. There is nothing wrong with that.
People who own shares of corporations can also choose to invest in so-called social justice causes. Environmental, social, and governance responsibility advocates want to take that choice away by pressuring management to toe the woke line with their shareholders’ money.
Much of environmental, social, and governance responsibility is virtue signaling done to elevate the reputations of senior executives. In reality, what they are signaling is their dereliction of their fiduciary duty to those who have invested in their companies.
Milton Friedman, writing in 1970, may have put it best when he said:
Environmental, social, and governance responsibility—like efforts to politicize the judiciary—is an example of the left overstepping its bounds and expanding the political realm into the farthest reaches of society while simultaneously demonizing and mischaracterizing people who disagree with its bossy, woke explanations of how things are.
The left’s insatiable appetite for all things political should be met with a clear response by economic freedom-loving people everywhere not to feed it, lest the monster grows larger.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal. Republished with permission.