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This week, highlights in responsible investing include attacks from Exxon suing their own shareholders, anti-responsible investing candidate Ron DeSantis dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination, and the Wall Street Journal released an analysis that shows businesses who use responsible investing criteria are more successful. 

Over the weekend, the “anti-woke” king Ron DeSantis ended his campaign for president ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

From the Guardian: Ron DeSantis put nearly all his eggs in the basket of a ‘war on woke’. But while much has been written about DeSantis’s joyless, low charisma campaign, this was a failure not only of style but of substance. The governor ran to the right of Trump on many issues and put nearly all his eggs in the basket of a “war on woke”.

Sustainability Magazine covered Unlocking America’s Future campaign to hold big money polluters accountable for their anti-responsible investing campaigns across the country.

From Fightback Against Anti-ESG Agenda and Investment Bans in US. “Not only are attacks on responsible investing deeply unpopular, these attacks hurt working families, are bad for business, and threaten the environment,” he says. Herrig cites the example of Texas, a state that prides itself on its low taxes and business-friendly environment. He says since the state took an aggressive stance against responsible investing, their reputation has taken a hit and it is now being labeled “bad for business” by J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

Texas’ anti-responsible investing policies got major pushback from both sides of the aisle all throughout the month of January.

From a Fox News op-ed: When Texas starts acting like California. It would be bad enough if this ESG war was limited to our two largest states, but of course, others have joined the fray with red states lining up behind Texas while blue states team up with California. Stuck in the middle, as usual, are taxpayers who have to foot the bill for this back-and-forth battle. Simply put, all politicians should stop using taxpayers as their pawns as they duke it out in the culture war. And Texas politicians in particular should know better than to mess with their own state.

The Wall Street Journal published an analysis on data that shows the best-managed companies are incorporating responsible investing considerations into their businesses.

From Forget the Term ‘ESG.’ But Don’t Ignore the Power of the Concept. Executives who consider environmental, social and corporate-governance criteria have been under attack lately, accused by critics of practicing “socialism,” or trying to act “woke.” But our latest analysis, based on a gauge of corporate effectiveness from the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University, suggests that those who are integrating ESG considerations into their business are guilty of nothing more than good management. 

Finally Exxon sued two of its investors in a bizarre move to block a shareholder proposal calling for the company to step up its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

From Semafor: Exxon shareholder lawsuit marks end of ESG era. That Exxon — Exxon — feels comfortable throwing its corporate might against a couple of low-budget activists says a lot about how quickly the political weather has changed … Exxon could have let this proposal onto the ballot and watched it fail, just like it did in 2022 and 2023. But the case, filed in business-friendly Texas, feels designed to send a message.

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