The growing annoyance felt by the climate establishment over ESG (measuring an investment against various environmental, social and governmental standards) finally attracting unfavorable attention from elected politicians has been as predictable as it is revealing. As I have noted before, ESG is a technique to bypass the democratic process by using corporations to pursue a political agenda. Of course, it’s not uncommon for businesses to become involved in politics, but they have typically done so through the political process (lobbying, donations to political parties/causes and so on). And when they have done so, it has been with the economic interests of their shareholders in mind, something that has historically kept their involvement within certain bounds.
ESG is different. It is an attempt by investment managers (sometimes with the cooperation of corporate managers, and sometimes not) to force through societal change by altering the way corporations conduct their business: They are attempting to advance political aims by going around, not through, the usual democratic process. Arguments that shareholders (a category that in this case should include ...