As chair of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF), State Treasurer John M. Schroder helped launch a new educational tool in the fight against environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment practices. The “Our Money, Our Values” campaign seeks to embolden the public to stand up against ESG investing that may not align with their beliefs or best interests.
Although the pitfalls of ESG investing are often discussed in investment circles, Schroder believes all American citizens should be aware of how investing their money is being used to push political agendas regardless of whether or not those investments actually reap positive results returns.
As part of the campaign,SFOF debuted a new website, which can be found on LaTreasury.com under the Issues and Education link, that provides resources to everyday Americans to understand better ESG and how it impacts their pocketbooks and livelihoods.
“ESG investing hurts everyone, especially citizens of states like Louisiana whose livelihoods are interconnected with the fossil fuels industry,” he said. “If you’ve noticed higher prices at the pump or at the grocery store checkout, you’ve felt the negative impact of ESG investing.”
He added that environmental measures meant to bring about a transition to a nation that is 100 percent dependent on clean energy will raise the cost of gasoline, natural gas, and heating oil for decades to come. These same measures will also impact the food supply chain, adding burdensome costs to farmers and ranchers that are passed along to consumers.
Officially launched during the SFOF National Meeting in Washington, D.C., “Our Money, Our Values” builds on the work of state financial officers from across the nation who have taken significant actions to prevent ESG from harming the citizens of their respective states, according to SFOF CEO Derek Kreifels. ESG investing has infected state pension funds and banking by prioritizing climate change and other social issues, not maximizing investors’ returns.
“As SFOF members continue to fight for their constituents, it’s important the American people have an honest understanding of what ESG really is,” said Kreifels. “Our money should not be used to push policies that don’t align with our values and have nothing to do with maximizing the value of our retirements and pensions. We launched ‘Our Money Our Values’ to help educate Americans everywhere who are being used by massive corporations like BlackRock, Vanguard, and StateStreet.”
In Louisiana, state pension boards and the state treasurer carry a fiduciary responsibility to pension holders and citizens. To uphold his duty to taxpayers, Schroder has divested $800 million from BlackRock, the largest amount to be pulled by a state thus far to combat ESG investing. He is joined by state financial leaders from West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Utah, and Arkansas, who have all taken some action to prevent state funds from passing through wealth managers or banks that prioritize climate and social policy in investment and business decision-making.
“This impacts every single American. Much of our pension dollars are now subjected to ambiguous and subjective ESG standards above financial security,” said Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder. “ESG has been weaponized to bully and destroy those that don’t fall in line with the progressive political agenda, and Americans deserve to know what’s going on.”
“Regardless of your politics, those in power using your money to pursue their own political agenda should be of major concern, and this is why we want to hear from you,” added Kreifels. “If you’ve been impacted by ESG, you can visit our website, share your story, and we may be able to help.”