Independent journalist Michael Shellenberger, who has participated in the release of internal documents from Twitter highlighting the company’s coordination with federal law enforcement, posted a thread about the World Economic Forum’s secretive finances on Sunday. When he mentioned that the controversial organization utilizes ESG criteria, Musk commented that “the S in ESG stands for Satanic.”
Business leaders committed to the ESG movement vow to pursue green energy initiatives, establish diversity quotas for managerial staff, or otherwise blend the maximization of profits with advancing the political and social agendas favored by leftists.
The dismal stock market performance of ESG funds last year has been cited by critics as evidence that the movement presents unnecessary risks to investment performance. Harvard Management Company, which controls the elite university’s endowment, admitted that a recent $2.3 billion loss was attributable to fossil fuel divestment efforts, even though the organization remains “proud to be deeply engaged in the issue of sustainability.”
Musk, who currently serves as chief executive of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter, has repeatedly criticized ESG ratings. Last year, for instance, he noted that S&P Global provided oil and gas conglomerate ExxonMobil with a stellar ESG score, while Tesla, which claims a mission of reducing climate change through electric vehicles, did not make the list.
“ESG is a scam,” Musk concluded. “It has been weaponized by phony social justice warriors.”
Scammers have indeed taken advantage of investors’ appetites for socially conscious companies. Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the defunct healthcare venture Theranos, garnered widespread recognition as one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley history before she was sentenced to federal prison on various fraud charges. Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX who lost billions in customer assets through his trading firm, admitted to a reporter that ESG has been “perverted beyond recognition” and boasted that he generated trust among “woke Westerners” through emphasizing his self-professed “effective altruism.”
Republican officials have contended that ESG ratings present a salient threat to the ability of conservative-leaning governments to fundraise on the bond market as entities seeking access to capital markets see downgrades linked to cultural matters unrelated to financial health. Beyond discouraging investments into the oil and gas sectors, ESG activists pushed stockholders for companies such as Walmart and Lowe’s to consider abortion-related proposals ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Lawmakers have asserted that undue hesitancy toward fossil fuel investments from prominent asset management companies has contributed to record energy prices. A motion filed by multiple Republican attorneys general with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sought to prevent Vanguard from purchasing shares in publicly traded utilities out of a concern that the company’s climate efforts would raise energy prices and decrease grid reliability. The firm responded by ceasing involvement with the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, by which signatories promise to move portfolio companies closer to eliminating net carbon emissions.