COMMENTARY

ESG in 2024: Expensive, Secretive, Grooming

Craig Bannister | December 13, 2023
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What’s in store for 2024? More of the radical-left’s ESG activism, at any cost, and attacks on anything standing in its way, that’s what.

While “ESG” began as an acronym for leftists’ radical “Environmental, Social and Governance” goals, it’ll take on a whole new meaning for the average American in 2024:

  • Expensive
  • Secretive
  • Grooming

 

Here’s what to expect, and beware, from E, S, and G in 2024.

EXPENSIVE:

The value of Americans’ retirement accounts and pension plans will suffer at the hands of ESG-activist investment managers who shun more lucrative investments in sectors like traditional energy, in favor of ideologically-preferred products, like unpopular electric vehicles.

“Everyday investors who rely on financial returns for their retirement savings bear the brunt” of the harm of the Biden Administration and activist investment firms prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) political goals, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) warns.

Indeed, ESG funds have a widespread legacy of underperforming the S&P 500, and even posting double-digit percentage losses, as companies that are politically-neutral on social and political issues are more profitable than those that practice leftist political activism.

ESG funds also charge higher fees, some charging as much as forty percent more, reducing retirement savings growth.

Now that a Biden Administration rule has freed and encouraged investment managers to base their investment choices on factors like ESG, instead of solely on their clients’ best financial interests, look for more to do just that in 2024.

And, by coercing vehicle manufacturers to produce unwanted, unprofitable electric vehicles that cost far more than their gas-powered alternatives, the Biden Administration’s ESG policies will drive up Americans’ cost of transportation.

Activist investment managers will continue to attempt to starve industries, such as traditional energy sources (like coal, oil and natural gas), by boycotting them, driving up what Americans pay to drive their gas-powered vehicles and heat their homes.

Additionally, as companies revamp their offices and businesses in order to reduce their carbon footprints, those costs will be passed on to consumers in 2024 and in the years to come.

Then, there’s Pres. Biden’s disingenuously-named “Inflation Reduction Act,” which will spend $369 billion of taxpayer money on Democrats’ climate agenda, in what the radical Environmental Defense Fund has deemed the "biggest package of climate investments in U.S. history."

Worse, the actual cost to taxpayers could turn out to be $1.2 trillion - three times more than the amount initially estimated.

SECRETIVE:

As more Americans learn the true nature and consequences of ESG next year – and reject it – the more the ESG movement will be forced to go underground.

The percent of private investors who say they consider they consider ESG factors when investing has fallen from two-thirds (65%) in 2021 to 60% in 2022, to about half (53%) this year, as more Americans prioritize financial performance over politics. All three elements of ESG – environmental, social and governance – are declining in importance to investors and are likely to continue to do so in 2024 and beyond.

In the third quarter of this year, investors pulled $2.7 billion from Sustainable/ESG funds, recording the sector’s fourth consecutive quarter of outflows. Compared to a year earlier, these funds lost $14.2 billion – a trend sure to continue next year.

Companies overtly trying to inflict ESG ideology on their customers today are paying a dear price. Earlier this year, a Bud Light campaign celebrating transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney backfired, causing the beer to suffer record sales losses. Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, went on to eliminate 400 jobs.

Likewise, when Target introduced  “tuck-friendly” swimsuits for women with penises and “gay pride” anatomy-neutral onesies for kids and babies, customers were repulsed. Target promptly lost $9 billion of market capitalization (12% of its stock price) in a single week.

The term “ESG” has even become so toxic that Larry Fink, CEO of the infamous mega-ESG-activist investment firm BlackRock, says that he “won’t say it anymore.” When people hear “ESG,” “We lose the conversation,” Fink says.

And, he’s not the only one who’s dropping the term. Analysis of earnings conference call transcripts of S&P 500 companies performed by FactSet reveals a severe downward trend in ESP mentions:

“Since peaking at 156 in Q4 2021, the number of S&P 500 companies citing “ESG” on earnings calls has declined (quarter-over-quarter) in four of the past five quarters.

“Compared to Q4 2022, the number of S&P 500 companies citing ‘ESG’ on earnings for Q1 2023 decreased by 23%.”

But, that doesn’t mean radical-left ESG activists will stop trying to advance their political, ideologically-driven agendas. Instead, they’ll just become more covert. Activist investment firms will simply stop naming their funds “ESG,” “sustainable,” etc.

Corporate executives will clandestinely “rebrand” ESG by calling it something else, so they can continue to base company decisions on politics, rather than on profit potential. 

BlackRock’s Fink might stop saying “ESG,” but his investment firm will continue to push funds that advance its principles next year. In its 2024 Global Market Outlook, BlackRock declares low-carbon transition to be a “mega force”:

“The low-carbon transition is one of the five mega forces playing out in markets today. We launched the BlackRock Investment Institute Transition Scenario to help investors navigate its risks and opportunities, with a focus on the energy transition.”

It’s noteworthy that the name “BlackRock Investment Institute Transition Scenario” makes no mention of what’s being “transitioned” or use words like “sustainable,” “low-carbon” or “environment.”

Look for more of that in 2024.

Target’s strategy is to simply relocate its LGBTQ products to a less conspicuous location – and deny that its tiny transgender apparel is meant for children. LGBTQ “pride” clothing for kids and adults will still be displayed and sold – just from the back of the store.

Target has also resorted to playing the victim card, claiming that it moved the clothing in order to ensure the safety of its staff from the threat of customers who are don’t approve of the product line.

GROOMING:

Grooming isn't restricted to the education system. Companies and investment managers will continue their efforts to destigmatize and normalize ESG ideology by indoctrinating American adults and their children in 2024.

For example, even though Target has moved its pro-transgender and other LGBTQ gear to the back of the store, it’ll continue to market products like brightly-colored rainbow attire (complete with chest-binders) and swimsuits that feature “extra crotch coverage” with “tuck-friendly construction” – some by a transgender designer whose other merchandise promotes violence, drug use, and Satanism – to impressionable young children.

Look for more companies to join the likes of Apple, Netflix and Microsoft in sending a message to their employees that they support “reproductive choice” and “gender identity,” by covering the cost of their abortions and transgender surgeries.

Companies will also continue to promote faux pronouns in 2023. Virgin Airlines and United Airlines, for example, are now providing personal pronoun badges in order to enable employees to declare their chosen gender identities.

Virgin and JetBlue are also allowing biological men to parade up and down the aisles in skirts and Virgin even allows customers with passports to use “U” and “X” gender codes when booking flights.

Prominent organizations, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will continue encouraging Americans to accept and use faux pronouns in 2024. Look for more groups to do the same, in order to establish and maintain their ESG-embracing street creds.

Finally, be prepared for a proliferation of ESG watchdogs and trackers – such as the LGBTQ Corporate Equality Index maintained and published by HRC – which seek to influence investment account managers and bully/shame companies that don't publicly endorse and practice what ESG ideology preaches.

Of course, these aren’t the only ways ESG activists will attempt to impose their radical ideologies on the public in 2024, as they become increasingly desperate in the face of dwindling support. But, be sure to be on the lookout for these in the year to come.

“Forewarned is forearmed,” as they say.

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