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An ESG policy could land a company in trouble within these states

A new movement aims to counter "woke capitalism" by steering state support away from institutions that favor a commitment to ESG.

Working toward greater environmental, social and corporate responsibility is usually hailed as a positive thing. But not necessarily in politics, where several conservative states are looking to counter the influence of what they blast as “woke capitalism.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has become the de facto leader of a movement to deny state support to financial institutions and other private-sector companies that strive for improved environmental, social and corporate governance, better known as ESG.

The upshot could be a refusal to deal with companies that are pursuing those non-financial goals, be they financial institutions handling a state employees’ pension fund or an outfit that runs the statehouse’s dining rooms.  

As this week’s Working Lunch podcast points out, virtually every major corporation in the restaurant industry likely sports an ESG policy. Co-hosts Franklin Coley and Joe Kefauver, the principals of the government-relations firm Align Public Strategies, warn that Florida will likely seek in earnest to sever dealings with those parties in 2023.

In addition to the Sunshine State, the movement has already drawn the support of political leaders in Texas, West Virginia and Idaho.

The proponents assert that an ESG commitment is a sure sign an operation is committed to propagating “woke” social, cultural and political values that may not align with the preferences of the mainstream population. In their assessment, rewarding ESG companies with invests of contracts is a stealthy means of promoting liberal values.

Learn more about the movement in this week’s edition of Working Lunch. You can find it and every weekly episode  wherever you get your podcasts.

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