James Freeman suggests in The Wall Street Journal that the ESG movement has peaked. Your Survival Guy’s take is that there’s a lot to like in that news. Freeman writes:
The so-called ESG movement has had a very disappointing week, and that’s great news for the world economy and human flourishing. “Environmental, social and governance” activists try to shame companies into adopting destructive political agendas that voters reject. Now it’s clear that shareholders reject them too. In March this column asked if ESG had peaked, and the answer appears to be yes.
On Thursday the Journal’s Collin Eaton and Jenny Strasburg reported:
An investor-driven climate change push at some of the world’s largest oil companies has stalled out.
On Wednesday, Exxon Mobil and Chevron’s shareholders struck down a raft of proposals urging the companies to cut greenhouse-gas emissions derived from fuel consumption, put out new reports on climate benchmarks and disclose certain oil-spill risks, among other initiatives.
The votes were abysmal for climate activists. All but two of the 20 shareholder proposals for the two companies garnered less than 25% of investors’ vote, according to preliminary results, with some performing much worse than similar proposals put forward last year.
Among the most controversial proposals were those that would have had the companies adopt targets for reducing emissions including those from third-party consumption of their products, such as when drivers burn gasoline in their cars, also known as Scope 3 emissions. Those received only 11% and 10% of the vote among Exxon and Chevron investors, respectively, compared with 27% and 33% for similar proposals last year.
In recent weeks, similar climate proposals failed to win over most shareholders at annual meetings of British oil and gas giants BP and Shell in London.
This welcome defense of cheap and abundant energy will benefit the world’s poor most of all, and what makes this triumph of common sense especially sweet is that Exxon is among the places it’s happening. Two years ago, in a moment historians may ultimately view as the peak of the ESG fad, a global warmist hedge fund with a tiny ownership stake managed to force the world’s greatest energy company to mouth the climate pieties of the progressive left.
In the intervening two years, inflation and war have helped people to appreciate the world’s need for affordable and efficient energy. Now ESG has failed at the scene of its greatest victory. And there are signs that the oil majors are moving ahead with plans that can restrain emissions without indulging the fantasy that the world is ready to run on wind and solar power.
Action Line: Your Survival Guy has been warning you about the dangers of ESG in investing for a long time. Giving up voting rights on your investments allows political money managers to use your money to push their agenda. When you want to take control of your own share voting power and need someone to help, I’m here.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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