Gov. Ron DeSantis announces new legislation to crack down on ‘woke CEOs’


(Video: Fox News)

The ESG rating system was never supposed to transform into a “green Frankenstein,” but now that it has, governors like Ron DeSantis of Florida are taking the actions necessary to prevent “woke” CEOs from spreading ESG throughout America.

Short for “Environmental, Social and Governance,” the ESG rating system was initially just “another useful metric to help investors assess the health and future profitability of a company,” according to E&E News.

“If a company is too heavily invested in coal operations, for example, it’s probably not going to do well long-term in a global economy that’s cracking down on the dirty fuel,” E&E noted in a report published Tuesday.

But somewhere along the way, ESG went “woke,” and so instead of being centered first and foremost on enhancing a company’s bottom line, it became about upholding leftist causes, particularly the cause of climate change.

The problem is that these new “woke” standards are destroying both companies and nations. In fact, they led to Sri Lanka’s economy collapsing.

This is why governors like DeSantis are fighting back. On Wednesday the governor announced new legislation designed to crack down on the spread of ESG.

During an appearance later that evening on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” he outlined his proposals in detail.

“We’re going to do a couple things. First, we are going to do through Florida’s state pension system a flat ban on any type of ESG. And as you say, they like to wiggle around. It’s basically a way for them to do politics. So we’re going to make sure that that fiduciary duty is defined very clearly and that they stick to that,” he said.

“We also want to provide protections for people in the financial marketplace from being discriminated against based on ideology. I mean, we’ve seen Wall Street banks discriminate against contractors who are involved in helping us against illegal immigration or against firearm manufacturers, things they don’t like.”

DeSantis continued, “So the upshot of all this is we want to stop these kind of masters of the universe from trying to do through economic power what they cannot achieve at the ballot box. And it’s really an end run around democracy, where they’re trying to impose these things. And here in Florida, I want to be governed by the values of Destin, not the values of Davos.”

Destin is a town in Florida.

The governor mentioned Davos because ESG is a creation of the United Nations. Specifically, it was pieced together by Paul Clements-Hunt, the former head of the U.N. Environment Programme Finance Initiative, or UNEP FI.

“As the head of UNEP FI, Clements-Hunt and his team had an ambitious idea: to mobilize the world’s largest investors to act on major global issues. The idea went that the priorities of the United Nations were actually aligned with the needs of long-term investors — insofar as a stable environment and world generally contribute to a more prosperous economy,” according to E&E.

That was fine, but it’s now reached the point where ESG standards have become highly detrimental to the world. The clearest example comes from Sri Lanka, which destroyed its own economy in pursuit of a higher ESG score.

“The underlying reason for the fall of Sri Lanka is that its leaders … fell under the spell of Western green elites peddling organic agriculture and ‘ESG,’ which refers to investments made following supposedly higher Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria. Sri Lanka has a near-perfect ESG score of 98—higher than Sweden (96) and the United States (51),” according to Michael Shellenberger.

“What does having such a high ESG score mean? In short, it meant that Sri Lanka’s two million farmers were forced to stop using fertilizers and pesticides, laying waste to its critical agricultural sector,” Shellenberger, a dissident climate critic and the founder of Environmental Progress, wrote recently for Bari Weiss’ Substack.

Continuing his remarks on Fox News, DeSantis accused “woke” employees and CEOs of being responsible for the spread of ESG within the United States.

“I do think part of this is there’s woke employees in these companies, and the inmates have basically run the asylum, so some of the CEOs bend to that. But I do think there are some of these CEOs who really like to exert power over the rest of us, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.

“It’ll be a disaster for our economy, of course, with what we’ve seen with the energy, but to have the economy politicized this way, that’s a recipe for disaster. But then also it takes power away from the American people and lodges it into these international corporate titans, and that’s not, I think, what our Founding Fathers ever intended.”

The Florida governor also urged his fellow governors nationwide to take action against ESG.

“What I’d like to do is get a lot of the conservative states together and let’s get our proxy voting rights on all of our funds. Let’s combine those and vote as a bloc. We’d have over a trillion dollars in assets between just the red states. That would make a difference when you’re talking about that,” he said.

“So we would be able to check a lot of these ESG votes that are going on throughout corporate America. So I would urge all my fellow governors around the country, hell, Republican or Democrat, you know, let’s band together and let’s fight back against this so we can keep power to the people.”

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