date: January 1, 2023
To: Every Republican Politician Concerned About ESG
from: Bob Eccles
subject: extend an invitation to meet you
It is customary to make resolutions on New Year’s Day. here is mine. Here is a proposal to meet with Republican politicians at the federal or state level to discuss her ESG.
Before I explain my resolution, I wish you a Happy New Year. I sincerely hope that 2023 will be a wonderful year. I’m a Democrat, but I’m not a dictator. I live in Massachusetts, voted for Charlie Baker twice as governor, and contributed to his campaign. I’m only an academic, so it’s certainly a modest amount. So, despite our political differences, I really mean my New Year’s wishes.
Also, since I’m not active in politics, let me admit that you probably don’t know who I am. I’ve been studying for 30 years, much longer than any of you. With all due respect, I know more about it than any of you. not.
I recently wrote about your views on ESG. This has become a very important topic in the GOP, and you guys are keeping me very busy!
“The Fable of the Pilkey Power Station (Told by Texas Senator Brian Hughes)”
“I did not receive a reply to my letter from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4).”
“Recommended Corporate Target for House Hearing on ESG: NextEra Energy”
“Thanksgiving Note to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis”
“I would like to personally thank SFOF for their commitment to DE&I”
“BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU: ALEC’S DOUBLE-THINK ATTACK ON THE US FREE MARKET
“An Open Letter to Five Republican Senators (I Hope It Helps)”
“You Can’t Talk to Players Without Scorecards: Organizing ESG, Impact and Sustainability”
“Linguistic Analysis of Texas Section 809 Boycott Provisions”
“The Politics of Value-Based Investment”
“DRLL’s Top 10 Holdings Digging: An Awakening Analysis”
“Three Hypotheses on the Republican Clerk and the Worrying Awakening Problem”
“Seeing Climate Change Through the Eyes of ExxonMobil”
“RSC Memo, ExxonMobil, and Tesla Reflections”
“A Tutorial on ESG Investing in the Oil & Gas Industry for Mr. Pence and His Friends”
I suspect that very few, if any, have read these little snippets. If so, I’m sure you don’t like them either. In short, many of you define ESG as an enlightened left-wing progressive political agenda to interfere in America’s capital markets. As Mr Pence pointed out in his May 26, 2022 letter, wall street journal“ESG is a harmful strategy because it allows the left to achieve what it never hoped to achieve through ballot boxes and free-market competition.”
In contrast, to show how our views differ, I see ESG as an idea that actually enhances free markets through better capital allocation. ESG is about the judicious management of material risk factors by both companies and investors.
Our capital markets are the deepest and most sophisticated in the world. we should leave them alone. Its foundation is transparency, rule of law and wise regulation enforcement. Transparency includes reporting on material risk factors important to capital allocation and value creation. Like it or not, these include some environmental and social issues. Capital markets do not exist in a vacuum, separate from the earth and society.
Under the rhetorical guise of the “free market,” they engage in political interference in ways that actually hurt them by trying to suppress information that investors need and that companies are already reporting. I’m here. Isn’t it ironic, given your claim that this is what the dreaded “progressives” do? Nor can I really understand another term, “fiduciary duty.” necessary Companies and investors taking these material ESG risk factors into consideration.
I’m not the only one who looks like this. K&L Gates partner, longtime acquaintance and staunch Republican, my good friend, so is Dan Crowley. You can get a good sense of his point of view in a webinar we did together on November 29, 2022 titled ESG has not ‘woke up’, it’s capitalism’. Excellently moderated by Karishma Page, Partner at K&L Gates.
Please enjoy how this happened. I published an article titled “Grift Capitalism: The GOP’s Brilliant Strategy for ripping off ordinary Americans”. In true bipartisan spirit, Dan emailed me and explained that he was dissatisfied with the work and why. He has co-authored the book Calming the Heat of the ESG Controversy: Separating Material Risk Disclosures from Prominent Political Issues. Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance“Many Democrats see ESG as an opportunity to pursue desired social change through collective action in the form of democratic capitalism. Most Republicans see the ESG movement as an offshoot of the Green New Deal. There may be some truth to both views, but neither accurately reflects market and regulatory developments over the past quarter-century.” to explain.
Our webinar was the next step in a slightly informal campaign to create a bipartisan debate on ESG. This was followed on December 12, 2022 by another webinar hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), “Where does the ESG discussion go from here?” The panel consisted of Dan, Morningstar’s Aron Sapiro, and myself. Expertly moderated by Michele Nellenbach of BPC.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI-4) delivered some excellent opening remarks during a question and answer session with BPC’s Tim Doyle (Republican). Citing his real estate background, Huizenga emphasized that ESG is all about “materiality, materiality, materiality.” Not an ideology.in his fifteen minutes Constructive Comment, he never used the word “awakened”. I spoke up for the first time after Mr. Huizenga and told him I couldn’t agree more. This shows that bipartisanship is not my fantasy, but only you can make it happen.
This will determine your New Year’s resolution. We would love to meet with anyone interested in discussing ESG. This can be done in private or public settings. If Dan wants to join me, he’s very welcome.
I’m not kidding about this. As evidence, we have suggested topics that may be of common interest. The day after Christmas, I published “Businesses Must Pay and Report Taxes: A Bipartisan Proposal.” In it I point out that large businesses, which are the source of much of your concern, pay much lower tax rates than small businesses. I’m afraid not.
Three days later, I announced that ESG is not about ethical standards or ethical values. This is a criticism of his ESG discussion from the other end of the political spectrum. I don’t like the ideological interpretation of ESG from the left more than the ideological interpretation of ESG from the right. ESG is not what some leftists want. It’s not what you on the right fear. It is simply managing the key risk factors for shareholder value creation.
I condemn the polarization that exists in this country and understand that it comes from both the right and the left. . But I know she’s 71 and not naive. With Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives, hearings on ESG are sure to happen. I would actually be delighted if this was done in a bipartisan spirit (from both left and right) to answer these basic questions and not defer to political theatrics. What? What can ESG do and what it cannot do? What can and should the private sector do and what should it do in the realm of the political process?
I know we have a common interest in keeping America great. Admittedly, there are differing views on how best to do this. So, instead of using ESG as a rhetorical tool that fosters polarization in America, what about a bipartisan discussion of ESG?
Look at me Please ask around. Ok, I know you have staff to do this. You can contact me.