Mike Pence Spars with Leaders of Environment Social Governance (ESG) Movement

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 20: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a crowd of supporters at the University Club of Chicago on June 20, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. During the speech, Pence blamed the Biden administration for the economic problems currently facing the country. (Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)
Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence has come under fire from leaders in the Environment Social Governance (ESG) movement after speaking out against their attempt to push big business farther to the left.

Mike Pence has taken heat from leaders in the ESG movement since he condemned the practice in an article and speech.

In a May article published in the Wall Street Journal, Pence warned that “the woke left is poised to conquer corporate America and has set in motion a strategy to enforce their radical environmental and social agenda on publicly traded corporations.”

He argued that rather than being natural, “The shift is entirely manufactured by a handful of very large and powerful Wall Street financiers promoting left-wing environmental, social, and governance goals (ESG), and ignoring the interests of businesses and their employees.”

Pence also contended that “ESG empowers an unelected cabal of bureaucrats, regulators, and activist investors to rate companies based on their adherence to left-wing values” before going on to compare it to the Chinese Communist Party’s social credit system.

In an energy policy speech in Houston, Pence also claimed that the Biden administration is “weaponizing the financial system” and that ESG policies “allow left-wing radicals to destroy American energy producers from within.” He cited activist investor groups, including those backed by Larry Fink’s BlackRock Inc.

In response to his article and speech, leaders from the ESG movement have come out against their attempt to impose leftwing ideological restrictions on corporations. Founding chairman of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Robert Eccles called Pence’s attack on woke capitalism a “clever verbal sleight of hand,” saying that the pushback to ESG was an attempt to enshrine “Grift Capitalism” which is allegedly “ripping off ordinary Americans.”

“Grift Capitalism,” he argued, was based on four inalienable rights, including “The right to call concerns about climate change a conspiracy of the elite,” and “the right to privacy but only for straight white males.”

Eccles defended ESG again with a new article in Forbes where he claimed that it is important for “investors in oil and gas companies to work … to adapt their business models to the necessary energy transition in order to ensure their ability to continue to create long-term value for their shareholders.”

Eccles has been joined by other figures in defending ESG and attacking Pence. LA Times Columnist Michael Hiltzik charged that the GOP is “complaining about environmental responsible investing” while Dustyn Lanz, a senior advisor with ESG Global Advisors, criticized Pence for opposing ESG and “ignorantly” comparing it to China’s social credit system.

An adviser to Pence told Breitbart News that those on the woke left are attacking Pence because he is attempting to “stop the progressive left from circumventing the ballot box to achieve their radical goals.” The adviser reaffirmed that the former Vice President “won’t stop until the use of ESG principles is ended.”


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