Utah State Treasurer Marlo Oaks, one of the nation’s leading voices opposing the influence of progressive politics in corporate America, on Saturday lambasted a controversial investment move that critics denounce for pushing “woke” political causes as part of “Satan’s plan”.
Oaks, speaking at the Salt Lake County Republican Party convention, told GOP delegates that ESG investing and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have positive goals — such as protecting people’s lives. environment and poverty alleviation – but were part of “results-based investing”. systems” designed to reach a predetermined conclusion without any discussion.
“The objectives have been identified. The truth has already been defined that these are the problems, and here are the solutions,” Oaks said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “The debate is over.”
Oaks then invoked the biblical “war in heaven” from the book of Revelation, calling it another “results-based” initiative.
“Results-based governance like the UN SDGs and ESG opens the door to authoritarianism,” Oaks said. “It’s Satan’s plan.”
ESG, short for Environmental, Social and Governance Investing, is based on the concept that investors should use these three broad categories when evaluating where to put their money, prioritizing progressive values and “social responsibility”. when making financial decisions.
When asked for clarification on his remarks, a spokesperson for Oaks told the Tribune that the issues raised by the ESG are important and should be discussed.
“Treasurer Oaks said his use of scripture was an attempt to speak to an audience who could understand the example and illustrate the problem of systems that try to impose outcomes on everyone,” the spokesperson said. . “His opposition is to coercion as a mechanism in society.”
Oaks is one of many pundits and policymakers who have criticized ESG for seeking to achieve political goals by circumventing legislatures and the democratic process in order to impose them.
“ESG promotes and implements policies through private companies that could be passed through a legislative process,” Oaks said in an interview last year. “The Green New Deal didn’t pass Congress, so its proponents shifted the battleground to capital markets.”
ESG has become a politically explosive issue over the past two years.
The theory behind ESG is that companies should minimize their traditional responsibility to maximize shareholder value and instead make new commitments to alternative stakeholder groups, serving other interests and society in his outfit.
Many investors now use ESG as a rating system to measure the progress of a company’s policies to address climate change, increase board demographic diversity, and support a progressive “justice” agenda. social”, among other initiatives.
However, critics of what they describe as the “corporate awakening” have rallied against the march of ESG advocates, arguing that the financial movement is a way to push left-wing causes into corporations rather than in the legislative body.
Last April, Oaks coordinated an effort by political leaders across the state to send a letter to S&P Global Ratings President and CEO Douglas Peterson demanding that S&P remove ESG indicators as a factor in its ratings. credit for states and state subdivisions.
“ESG is about controlling and forcing behaviors,” Oaks said in a statement at the time. “He is trying to do through capital markets what activists and their government allies have been unable to do through democratic processes. S&P should be concerned with whether investors will be reimbursed, not whether a state policy aligns with their political beliefs, whatever they may be.
Months later, Oaks withdrew around $100 million in public funds from giant investment firm BlackRock, one of America’s biggest promoters of ESG.
At the federal level, the Senate earlier this month passed a resolution removing a Biden administration rule that encourages managers to consider ESG factors when making investment decisions for retirement funds. more than 150 million Americans.