After years of experimenting with the woke agenda, many companies are deciding they’ve had enough of ESG and all the baggage it comes with. Chip Cutter and Emily Glazer report in The Wall Street Journal:
Many companies no longer utter these three letters: E-S-G.
Following years of simmering investor backlash, political pressure and legal threats over environmental, social and governance efforts, a number of business leaders are now making a conscious effort to avoid the once widely used acronym for such initiatives.
On earnings calls, many chief executives now employ new approaches. Some companies…are rebranding corporate reports and committees, stripping ESG from titles. Advisers are coaching executives on alternative ways to describe their efforts, proposing new terms like “responsible business.” On Wall Street, meanwhile, some firms are closing once-popular ESG funds as interest fades.
The shift in messaging reflects a reality: “ESG is complicated,” said Daryl Brewster, a former Kraft Foods and Nabisco executive who now heads Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose, a nonprofit of more than 200 companies focused on social impact.
The movement to bake accountability into business decisions stretches back centuries; the term ESG gained momentum after the United Nations used it about 20 years ago. Over time, the effort became divisive—derided by some state officials as “woke capitalism,” and criticized by others for putting too much focus on measurement and disclosure requirements.
Many CEOs stress that they continue to follow sustainability commitments made years ago—even if they are no longer talking about them as often publicly. A December survey by the advisory firm Teneo found that about 8% of CEOs are ramping down their ESG programs; the rest are staying the course but often making changes to how they handle them.
Action Line: Putting political agendas ahead of shareholders’ best interests was never going to work. One way you can avoid your money being used to push someone else’s political agenda is to own a portfolio of individual stocks and bonds, not an index fund where you cede control to a manager. When you want help building a portfolio where you control how your shares are voted, let’s talk.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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