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This week, highlights in responsible investing include a new campaign from Unlocking America’s Future (UAF) to push back against attacks on ESG, the New Hampshire Senate voting down an anti-ESG law, and self-serving politicians celebrating a huge step backwards for ESG as JPMorgan, State Street, and BlackRock withdrew their commitments to Climate Action 100+.

Self-serving politicians celebrated and others spoke out against a huge step back for responsible investing after several firms pulled out of their commitment to Climate Action 100+.

From New York City Comptroller Brad Lander: “Climate risk is financial risk. Today BlackRock, JPMorgan, and State Street are choosing to ignore both. By caving into the demands of right-wing politicians funded by the fossil fuel industry and backing out of their commitment to Climate Action 100+, these enormous financial institutions are failing in their fiduciary duty and putting trillions of dollars of their clients’ assets at risk.”

The New Hampshire Senate killed an extreme anti-ESG law, ending the anti-responsible investing push in the state legislature for now.

From UAF’s statement: “We applaud the New Hampshire Senate for killing this bill – which would have made it more difficult to use responsible investing criteria when investing state funds. Responsible investing is good for Granite Staters’ wallets and good for business, creating jobs, opening new markets, and driving positive returns on investments.  A defeat for greedy CEOs and the self-interested politicians who will do anything to protect them is a win for the rest of us.”

Unlocking America’s Future released a new website detailing how wealthy billionaires, well-funded interest groups, and self-serving politicians are systematically trying to dismantle responsible investing.

From UAF’s release: “This new research hub exposes how wealthy billionaires at the helms of the oil and gas industry are funding think tanks and self-serving politicians to dissuade businesses, mislead the American public, and thwart progress on the climate,” said Kyle Herrig, spokesperson for Unlocking America’s Future. “People like Charles Koch and Leonard Leo are pushing for anti-responsible investing policies to line their own pockets, despite the fact that a majority of Americans, including 70% of Republicans, oppose bans on responsible investing.” 

UAF also released a new poll showing how Americans are worried about the effect of attacks on responsible investing.

From UAF’s release: The survey also revealed a majority of voters are worried “supporters of ESG bans do not care about the well-being of the middle class or American workers.”  The data makes clear voters see through self-serving politicians’ misleading rhetoric on responsible investing. Nearly 60% of respondents said they are concerned billionaire donors are “pouring money” into the interest groups and politicians supporting these bans. 

UAF also released digital ads in Arizona highlighting harmful anti-ESG legislation in the state.

From UAF’s release: Recently the Arizona Senate passed a resolution to place a measure on the ballot to ban Arizona public entities from entering into contracts worth $100,000 or more with companies that refuse to do business with firearm manufacturers. Additionally, there are two pieces of legislation that attempt to halt ESG efforts: SB 1013 blocks the state treasurer from considering social and environmental factors in investment decisions and from talking positively in public about investment benefits. SB 1014 would ban financial institutions, insurers and credit reporting agencies from discriminating based on political affiliation or “other social credit, environmental, social justice” values-based criteria.

Finally, Axios covered all of UAF’s recent work in an exclusive on Thursday.

From the article: State restrictions on use of public funds for ESG and brewing SEC climate disclosure rules are among today’s battlegrounds. Financial giants are on defense amid increasing oversight from congressional Republicans and anti-ESG initiatives among red state officials. Some states have pulled money from asset managers with ESG offerings. Multiple have also passed or debated legislative restrictions — a focus for UAF. In recent days companies like State Street Global Advisors and J.P. Morgan Asset Management announced they’re leaving the Climate Action 100+ coalition.

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