The Wall Street Journal was either duped or disingenuous in an op-ed from Vivek Ramaswamy (author of anti-ESG book Woke, Inc.) and Riley Moore (Treasurer of coal-economy West Virginia) about a study giving bad grades to pension funds and fund managers for supporting the proxy contest at ExxonMobil in 2021. See below: Insight ESG Energy is falsely described as a “governance watchdog.” This suggests some independence and legitimacy. But Insight ESG Energy is funded by Aspect Holdings. Here is the photo at the top of their website. They are an oil and gas company. This is just another example of dark money-funded fake front groups pretending to be independent evaluators of data. It is a complete failure of the most basic journalistic standards that the Journal did not insist the authors accurately describe the source of the “study” they cite. Instead, they allowed the fossil fuel funders to assign failing grades to investors who voted in favor of dissident directors at a company whose record included losses of $22 billion, a clear, financial-based rationale.
On that basis, we give the “Insight ESG Energy watchdog” an F. We give the WSJ a C- for adding a clarification later. But the Journal also failed to note that one of the authors of the op-ed is behind a new “anti-ESG” fund, a clear conflict of interests and a disgraceful omission. So maybe a D.
According to Insight ESG Energy, a governance watchdog that grades the fiduciary performance and energy literacy of fund managers, BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard earned grades of C-minus, C and C-plus, respectively, for their 2021 voting behavior. Pension funds in Georgia earned an A, but Florida, Texas and Idaho earned grades of D-minus, D and D, respectively.
That’s in part because Florida and two large Texas pension funds last year joined the big three to elect three dissident directors to Exxon Mobil’s board to implement a more aggressive climate-change strategy, after which Exxon Mobil reduced its oil-production targets through 2025 from its earlier forecasts. One of the Texas pension funds also voted for shareholder resolutions requiring banks to restrict financing to new fossil-fuel projects. As Texas’ democratically elected Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has observed, it strains credulity to believe that the votes accurately represent the intentions of Texans and Floridians whose money is invested in these pension funds.The Market Can Curtail Woke Fund Managers – WSJ