On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and state legislative leaders announced a sweeping new bill to curb the politicization of corporations and the use of social credit scoring in banking and other financial services in their state. If passed into law, the legislation would become the most far-reaching protection against woke corporations established to date.
“Today’s announcement builds on my commitment to protect consumers’ investments and their ability to access financial services in the Free State of Florida,” DeSantis said during a press conference announcing the bill. “By applying arbitrary ESG financial metrics that serve no one except the companies that created them, elites are circumventing the ballot box to implement a radical ideological agenda. Through this legislation, we will protect the investments of Floridians and the ability of Floridians to participate in the economy.”
“ESG” stands for “environmental, social, and governance” metrics, a type of social credit scoring system that measures companies’ devotion to non-financial factors, many of which favor left-wing causes.
For example, the ESG ratings system favored by the World Economic Forum (WEF) — the organization that hosts a massive, infamous meeting of elites in Davos each year — evaluates companies in part on their “Percentage of employees per employee category, by age group, gender and other indicators of diversity (e.g. ethnicity).”
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ESG ratings systems also reward companies that agree to promote a number of environmental causes, including battling climate change, and they typically punish businesses that use too much land or water. Businesses that agree to fund social justice initiatives are also rewarded under countless ESG schemes.
ESG was a significant part of the World Economic Forum’s 2020 “Great Reset” campaign, as well as countless other of its proposals aimed at “resetting” the global economy and reimagining social contracts. And it’s a major reason why so many corporations in North America and Europe have started to embrace radical leftist ideas over the past decade.
Although millions of Americans still have not heard of ESG metrics, they are already having a profound effect on businesses in North America and Europe, and as a result, the wider economy and culture. KPMG, one of the world’s largest accounting firms, reports 96 percent of the 250 largest companies in the Fortune 500 have ESG systems already in place.
Banks and other financial services companies are particularly powerful forces in the ESG world. They have been caught using ESG and other sustainability metrics to target specific individuals, businesses, and industries, by denying banking products or services or rewarding companies that perform well on ESG ratings systems.
Although the full details of the legislation proposed by DeSantis and leaders in the Florida State Legislature — including Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner — have not yet been publicly released, the outline made available shows that it would stop many of the most egregious uses of ESG in Florida. It would be a significant step toward protecting the rights of families and enhancing competition in the free market.
According to a press release issued by DeSantis’s office, the proposal “seeks to protect Floridians from the woke ESG financial scam” by, among other things, “Prohibiting big banks, trusts, and other financial institutions from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs — including their support for securing the border, owning a firearm, and increasing our energy independence.”
It would also stop “the financial sector from considering so called ‘Social Credit Scores’ in banking and lending practices that aim to prevent Floridians from obtaining loans, lines of credit, and bank accounts.”
DeSantis’s office further claims the legislation would prevent “state and local entities, including direct support organizations, from considering, giving preference to, or requesting information about ESG as part of the procurement and contracting process.” And it would ensure that investment fund managers at the state and local levels only consider financial considerations when making investment decisions.
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By stopping big banks, financial institutions, and government agencies from imposing ESG goals on everyday Floridians, DeSantis’s bill would protect families and small businesses from being bullied by a cabal of left-wing corporations and ideologues on Wall Street seeking to control every part of our lives.
Perhaps most importantly of all, it could spark a series of similar bills in states across the country, many of which have considered anti-ESG legislation over the past year but have failed to get comprehensive bills across the finish line.
I have personally spoken to many patriotic lawmakers in states across the country who understand the dangers of ESG, and they have repeatedly told me that one of the biggest roadblocks that they have faced so far is that Republican legislative leaders in their respective states have been unwilling to endorse important bills. But DeSantis’s commitment to beating ESG could soon change all that.
If Florida can prove that anti-ESG legislation is popular with voters and can be smartly designed, it could transform the entire ESG legislative landscape.
Ron DeSantis and legislators in Florida working to stop the rise of ESG deserve immense credit for their heroic efforts. I hope lawmakers in other states are taking notice.