Date: January 1, 2023
To: All Republican Politicians Who Are Involved About ESG
From: Bob Eccles
Topic: Extending an Invitation to Meet with You
It’s customary on New Yr’s Day to make resolutions. Right here is certainly one of mine. It’s a proposal to fulfill with any GOP politician on the federal or state stage to speak about ESG.
Earlier than explaining my decision, I wish to sincerely want all of you a Blissful New Yr and all the perfect for a fantastic 2023. Whereas I’m a Democrat, I’m not a doctrinaire one. I reside in Massachusetts and fortunately voted twice for Charlie Baker as Governor and contributed to his marketing campaign. In admittedly modest quantities as a result of I’m solely an instructional. Thus, regardless of our political variations, I actually do imply my New Yr’s needs.
Let me additionally acknowledge that you just most likely don’t know who I’m since I don’t transfer in political circles. False modesty apart, I’m a globally acknowledged determine in ESG. I’ve been finding out it for lots longer than any of you, like 30 years. With respect, I do know much more about it than any of you do. And in contrast to you—and a few of your counterparts on the left—I don’t view the subject by way of an ideological lens.
These days I’ve been writing in regards to the views a few of you’ve got about ESG. This has turn into fairly a distinguished subject within the GOP so that you of us have been holding me very busy! Right here’s the present record with a couple of others mentioned beneath:
“The Fable Of The Pirkey Energy Plant (As Instructed By Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes)”
“My Reply To The Letter From Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4) I Didn’t Get”
“A Recommended Company Goal For Home Hearings On ESG: NextEra Vitality”
“A Thanksgiving Day Memo To Florida Governor Ron DeSantis”
“My Private Thanks To SFOF For Their Dedication To DE&I”
“BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU: ALEC’s Doublethink Assault On America’s Free Markets
“An Open Letter To 5 Republican Senators (Which I Hope Will Be Useful)”
“Can’t inform the gamers with out a scorecard: Finding out ESG, impression and sustainability”
“A Linguistic Evaluation Of The Texas Part 809 Boycott Provision”
“The Politics of Values-Based mostly Investing”
“Drilling Into DRLL’s High 10 Holdings: A Woke Evaluation”
“Three Hypotheses About Republican Senior Executives And The Worrisome Drawback Of Wokeness”
“Trying At Local weather Change By means of The Eyes Of ExxonMobil”
“Some Reflections On An RSC Memo, ExxonMobil, And Tesla”
“A Tutorial On ESG Investing In The Oil And Gasoline Business For Mr. Pence And His Buddies”
I believe only a few, if any, of you’ve got learn any of those little items. Should you did, I’m additionally positive you wouldn’t like them. Honest sufficient as a result of we see this difficulty fairly otherwise. In brief, a lot of you outline ESG as a Woke left-wing progressive political agenda interfering with America’s capital markets. As Mr. Pence pointedly put it in a Might 26, 2022, letter to The Wall Road Journal, “ESG is a pernicious technique, as a result of it permits the left to perform what it might by no means hope to realize on the poll field or by way of competitors within the free market.”
In distinction, and to point out you ways totally different our views are, I see ESG as an thought which is definitely strengthening our free markets by way of higher capital allocation. ESG is just in regards to the wise administration of fabric threat components by each corporations and traders.
Our capital markets are the deepest and most refined on this planet. We have to preserve them that means. On the basis of this are transparency, the rule of legislation, and wise regulatory enforcement. Transparency contains reporting on materials threat components which matter to capital allocation and worth creation. Prefer it or not, these embrace some environmental and social points. The capital markets don’t exist in a vacuum aside from the planet and society.
Underneath the rhetorical guise of “free markets” you’re really exercising political interference in a means that may harm them by making an attempt to suppress the knowledge traders want and firms are already reporting. Ironic, isn’t it, given your claims that that is what the dreaded “progressives” are doing? You additionally fail to grasp that “fiduciary obligation,” one other time period you generally invoke, really requires that corporations and traders take these materials ESG threat components into consideration.
I’m not the one one who sees it this fashion. So does my good good friend Dan Crowley, a accomplice at Ok&L Gates and somebody I’ve identified for a few years—and a staunch Republican. You may get sense of his views in a webinar we did collectively on November 29, 2022, titled “ESG Isn’t ‘Woke,’ It’s Capitalism.” It was brilliantly moderated by his Ok&L Gates accomplice Karishma Web page.
You may also benefit from the story how this took place. I printed a bit titled “Grift Capitalism: The GOP’s Good Technique For Ripping Off Peculiar Individuals.” In true bipartisan spirit Dan despatched me an e-mail saying he was sad with the piece and defined why. We had a really constructive dialog which led to us co-authoring “Turning Down the Warmth on the ESG Debate: Separating Materials Threat Disclosures from Salient Political Points,” printed by the Harvard Legislation Faculty Discussion board on Company Governance. We notice that, “Many Democrats see ESG as a chance to pursue desired social change by way of collective motion within the type of democratic capitalism. Most Republicans view the ESG motion as an offshoot of the Inexperienced New Deal and subsequently akin to thinly-veiled Marxism. Whereas there could also be some reality to each views, neither precisely displays market and regulatory developments over the previous quarter century.” Which we then clarify.
Our webinar was the following step in a bit of casual marketing campaign to create a bipartisan dialogue about ESG. It was adopted by one other webinar on December 12, 2022, “The place Does the ESG Debate Go from Right here?,” hosted by the Bipartisan Coverage Middle (BPC). The panel consisted of Dan, Aron Szapiro of Morningstar, and me. It was expertly moderated by Michele Nellenbach of the BPC.
Rep. Invoice Huizenga (R-MI-4) gave some glorious opening remarks in a Q&A he did with Tim Doyle (R), additionally of the BPC. Drawing on his actual property background, Mr. Huizenga emphasised that ESG is all about “materiality, materiality, materiality.” Not ideology. In his quarter-hour of constructive feedback, he didn’t use the phrase “woke” as soon as. I used to be the primary individual to talk after Mr. Huizenga and mentioned that I couldn’t agree with him extra. Which demonstrates that bipartisanship will not be a fantasy of mine—however solely you can also make it actual.
Which will get me to my New Yr’s Decision. I’d be very happy to fulfill with any of you who’re fascinated with doing so to speak about ESG. We are able to do that in a personal of public setting. Dan can be greater than welcome to hitch me if he desires to.
I’m not kidding about this. As proof, I’ve even prompt a subject on which we might have a typical curiosity. The day after Christmas I printed “Firms Ought to Pay And Report Their Taxes: A Bipartisan Proposal.” In it I level out that enormous companies, a supply of a lot of your concern, are paying a a lot decrease tax charge than small and medium-sized enterprises. I don’t assume that is proper and I believe you don’t both.
Going additional, three days later I printed “ESG Is Not About Moral Requirements And Moral Values.” It’s a critique of a dialogue about ESG out of your reverse finish of the political spectrum. I don’t like ideological interpretations of ESG from the left any greater than I like them from the best. ESG isn’t what some on the left hope it to be. It isn’t what you on the best worry it to be. It’s merely about managing materials threat components for shareholder worth creation.
I decry the polarization that exists on this nation, and I perceive it’s coming from each the best and the left. I additionally acknowledge that the political sphere is above my paygrade. However I’m 71 years previous and never naïve. The GOP now has management of the Home and I’m positive there shall be hearings on ESG. I’m really happy about this if it’s executed in a bipartisan spirit (from each the left and the best) to reply these elementary questions and never devolve into political theater. What’s and isn’t ESG ? What can ESG do and what can’t it do? What can and may the personal sector do and what needs to be within the area of the political course of?
I do know we now have a typical curiosity in holding America the good nation that it’s. We admittedly have totally different views on how finest to do that. So how about we now have a bipartisan dialogue about ESG relatively than utilizing it as a rhetorical machine furthering polarization in America?
Verify me out. Ask round. Okay, I do know you should have a staffer do that and the probabilities are distant this provide will even get to any of them. But when it does they usually increase it with you and also you wish to have interaction, I’m straightforward to achieve at firstname.lastname@example.org.