Epoch Times Documentary Catalogues Government, Corporate Collusion in Left-Wing ESG Movement

Standing for “environmental, social, and governance,” ESG is increasingly popular among the biggest corporations

The Epoch Times recently hosted a screening of “The Shadow State,” an exclusive documentary describing the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) movement that has become increasingly popular among the most powerful corporate and governmental institutions.

“The Shadow State,” directed and narrated by The Epoch Times’ Kevin Stocklin, describes how left-wing social positions are being pushed increasingly on corporations by some of the most powerful actors in the United States as well as globally. The documentary was screened at the Conservative Political Action Coalition in Maryland on March 3.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Host Kevin Stocklin in “The Shadow State.” (Epoch Original)

At a core level, said Stocklin, ESG was created “to bring corporations together and make them part of a global movement to create a better world.”

But the exact meaning of the term, he said, “depends on who you ask.”

The ESG movement, a de facto set of left-wing policy objectives, has in recent years blossomed as international power players have used their wealth and prestige to push the goals. ESG-compliant corporations push for policies like the total phase-out of fossil fuels for so-called “clean” energy, partial or full bans on Americans’ right to own firearms, and agitate for socially left-wing positions on issues relating to race, gender, and sexuality.

Stocklin narrated: “The goals of ESG include disinvestment in fossil fuels, cutting pollution, reducing the use of gas-powered cars, subsidizing wind, solar, and electric cars, fighting for social justice, racial, and gender equity, [Diversity, Equity & Inclusion] DEI training to diversify your corporate board’s race and gender, taking a stand on abortion, gun control, voting polls, and transgender events.”

Further, the ESG movement is a declared enemy of animal-based meat, particularly beef. Its proponents have pushed the populace to consume edible insects or plant-based facsimiles of meat rather than true animal-derived meat.

BlackRock CEO: ‘You Have to Force Behaviors’

At the core of this movement are three of the largest financial firms in the United States—global advisers like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street—and the transnational World Economic Forum (WEF). It also has the support of powerful billionaires like Bill Gates, who has used his vast wealth to further the cause of ESG through funding plant- and insect-based alternatives to meats.

In 2014, the ESG movement had around $19 trillion to its name. In the past nine years, that number has nearly tripled, with ESG-compliant corporations and individuals now controlling $55 trillion in assets. By 2025, it is projected that fully half of all global financial assets under management will be ESG-compliant.

The players in this system, Stocklin said, are vastly well-connected and wealthy.

They “include the world’s largest asset managers, who together control more than $20 trillion in investments. It includes America’s largest public pension funds. It includes the world’s largest banks. It includes global clubs of CEOs and political leaders, like the World Economic Forum, and it includes a host of other activist finance clubs such as Climate Action,  the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, and the Net Zero Asset Management Initiative.”

But the WEF is the biggest player in the ESG world, Stocklin said.

The WEF, founded and led by Klaus Schwab, brings corporate executives and politicians together once a year in Switzerland to agree how they will cooperate for common goals.

World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab delivers a speech during a session of the WEF annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 17, 2023. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

“The future is not just happening,” Schwab said during a WEF summit in a comment indicative of the mindset of ESG proponents. “The future is shaped by us.”

When a company signs onto the ESG movement, they must pledge to use their corporate power to reduce fossil fuel production in favor of things like wind and solar energy, and electric cars.

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, a prime supporter of ESG, explained, “Well, behaviors are gonna have to change, and this is one thing we’re asking companies [to do].

“You have to force behaviors,” Fink added. “At BlackRock, we’re forcing behaviors.”

For instance, ESG-compliant banks like Goldman-Sachs and J.P. Morgan have announced that they will no longer fund oil drilling in the Arctic as part of ESG goals.

Stocklin explained: “The ESG movement includes the world’s largest banks, investment managers, pension funds, and insurance companies, as well as international organizations like the World Economic Forum. The ESG industry has reached a massive $55 trillion in assets and is projected to grow to nearly $100 trillion by 2025. More than 500 of the world’s largest corporations and industries like finance, tech, and media, have signed pledges to support this movement.”

As part of the effort to “force behavior,” several firms have arisen to rate companies on how well they keep the tenets of ESG; companies that find themselves with a poor rating can contract out with newly created ESG firms that help the corporation to increase their ESG rating through internal policy changes.

Big Tech

The most valuable companies and organizations in the world are not the only proponents of ESG ideology: the core principles of the movement have also made their way to the boardrooms of Big Tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

For instance, most social media platforms—with the exception of Twitter, which is privately owned by billionaire Elon Musk—have policies in place that limit what users can say publicly. In the past, users espousing conservative positions on climate, COVID-19, race, and gender and sexuality have been subject to removal, temporary suspension, or “shadow bans,” which limit the reach of someone’s posts.

After Musk’s takeover of Twitter, it was made known to the public that Twitter had in the past colluded with the federal government to remove and censor posts.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his security detail depart the company’s local office in Washington on Jan. 27, 2023. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

“The government is able to use those [social media] companies to do through the backdoor what they couldn’t do through the front door because of the Constitution, because we have a pesky thing in this country called the First Amendment,” Vivek Ramaswamy, a tech and finance entrepreneur, told Stocklin.

Stocklin said during an interview on the documentary that the interplay between Big Tech and big government has developed into a “give and take.”

“They have a relationship where they’re both benefiting,” he explained. “Big Tech is willing to act as censors for government narratives, and we saw evidence of this and their willingness to censor the New York Post when [Joe] Biden was running for president.”

Here, Stocklin was citing the controversial decision by Twitter, Facebook, and other major social platforms to limit the reach of a 2020 New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop. The younger Biden had left his personal laptop at a computer repair shop and never picked it up.

Whistleblower testimony to Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, included as part of a major 1,050 page report released in November, indicates, among other findings, that the FBI may have colluded with Big Tech platforms to suppress ideas and stories that went outside of the official narrative.

This was most prominent during the fallout of the New York Post’s story on Hunter Biden’s laptop, which appeared to show the younger Biden committing a litany of crimes, including possession of crack cocaine, and a photo of him standing beside a girl who appeared underage dressed in prostitute-like attire. Whistleblower findings alleged that the FBI played a role in the suppression of the story.

The story was discovered by the New York Post, a conservative-leaning media outlet that was founded by Alexander Hamilton. After posting the story to its Twitter page, the New York Post’s account was suspended by the platform pending the removal of the story. Similar suppression followed with other media outlets that reported on the contents of the laptop.

But this example, while the best known, is not the only one, Stocklin said.

“We’ve seen numerous other cases, even during COVID of Facebook, Google, and Twitter censoring information that the government just doesn’t want getting out there,” Stocklin said, citing tech platforms systematic censorship of posts and comments critical of COVID-19 government policies, masks, and the novel mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

“In return, what big tech has gotten is an administration that’s happy to look the other way when they exercise their oligopolistic control,” Stocklin added.

ESG Movement Relies on Fear: Stocklin

Stocklin said that, while making the documentary, he was “struck” by “just how willing people are to surrender their basic rights when they’re frightened,” adding that fear and crisis terminology are used to the benefits of the elite groups in charge of the ESG movement.

Stocklin said that the biggest proponents of ESG are aware of this fear response that many have, and have sought to use that fear against Americans.

“It’s all portrayed as emergencies and crises, whether it’s a climate emergency or a racial emergency or a gun violence emergency,” Stocklin said. “So much of it seems to be a process of just frightening people into surrendering their rights to these international organizations and these behind-the-scenes elitist clubs.”

And these elitist clubs have a lot to gain from ESG, Stocklin said. He explained that a veritable ESG industry has arisen in recent years.

As an example of the interplay between private firms and the government in pushing ESG, Stocklin pointed to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring that all listed companies report their CO2 emissions and their plans to reduce them.

“This is a huge boost to the ESG industry,” Stocklin explained. “Who profits from this? Well, companies like BlackRock and Vanguard and State Street that are allowed to charge higher fees for ESG funds because they’re managed funds.”

As ESG has grown more popular, several firms have also popped into existence promising to help certify ESG compliance and repair the ESG scores of firms who step out of line.

“All of those vested interests are going to profit from this as well,” Stocklin said.

Pensions on the Line

Stocklin added that the core tenets of ESG work against the interests of investors, including investment accounts meant to provide retirement funds.

Though many think of the ultra-wealthy when they think of the stock market, Stocklin emphasized that this is far from the case.

“What people need to understand with things like that is when we talk about shareholders, you know, this is us,” Stocklin said.

“This is our pension money. This is our retirement money. This is our savings. And CEOs are not acting in the interests of shareholders.”

Stocklin said it was unclear if corporations’ primary motive in pursuing ESG was profit, or rather genuine belief in its ideas.

“They are acting either [because] they believe in this ideology, and they believe that they need to do the right thing with climate or racial policies or whatever, or they’re doing it to boost their ESG scores,” Stocklin said.

As an example, he pointed to Disney’s recent disastrous crusade against a Florida law prohibiting discussing sex with children ages 9 and under in public schools. Liberal critics of the legislation dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and several corporations and the ultra-wealthy fought against the bill.

Ultimately, Disney was one of the corporations that fought the bill, which ended in a revenue disaster for the company: Disney World had its independent self-governing status stripped away; its stock price plunged, and its movies underperformed at the box office.

Stocklin explained, “[Disney] said this was … a human rights issue [to them]. They’ve been sexualizing their content and they’ve been pushing critical race theory.”

This is inexplicable from a shareholder perspective, Stocklin said.

“From a shareholders perspective, this is terrible, right? Their subscriptions are falling off on Disney Plus; they’re getting families boycotting their theme parks And, even as horrible as the market has been, their stock price has been twice as bad—and declining—as the general market. So from the perspective of shareholders or retirees that want to rely on the value of those shares for their retirement, this is terrible.”

“On the other hand,” Stocklin added, “Disney’s ESG score, took a nice jump in 2022, presumably because of a lot of this behavior.”

Despite the confluence of powers undergirding the ESG movement, Stocklin expressed cautious optimism that the movement could be defeated.

Original News Source Link

Running For Office? Conservative Campaign Consulting – Monthly Rates!