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Over the past year the somewhat obscure acronym of ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) has become a subject of heated debate in the United States. Mike Pence, one of the first Republican anti-ESG warriors wrote in the ever-complicit anti-ESG, opined that "ESG is a pernicious strategy, because it allows the left to accomplish what it could never hope to achieve at the ballot box or through competition in the free market. ESG empowers an unelected cabal of bureaucrats, regulators and activist investors to rate companies based on their adherence to left-wing values." Digging much deeper into how pernicious it really is, North Dakota House Representative Bill Tveit has explained that "In my opinion, ESG is a worldwide human satanic organized effort. A manmade sabotage of God."

More substantively, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has held a number of hearings on ESG. Republican Representatives have sent letters to Climate Action 100+ and CalPERS accusing them of anti-trust violations. SEC Chair Gary Gensler and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have received a letter regarding the CSRD ( Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) and CSDDD (Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive). Red state attorney generals have fired off a variety of letters to asset managers and insurance companies.

How much of this is political theatre? Are there any substantive issues behind this drama? What does this mean for the Presidential election. How long will the debate about ESG continue? Is there any hope of a bipartisan solution to the issues on the table? How important is this to the rest of the world? Is there any value to this debate at all?

Bob Eccles has been following this debate rather closely and has had some interesting conversations with people across the political spectrum. He will provide his views and engage with the audience to get theirs.


Little Hall, Sidgwick Site
England, United Kingdom

School of the Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Cambridge

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