U.S. House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), together with Republican North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop and Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, has issued letters to major international entities including the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ) and asset management titans such as BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard regarding their actions pertaining to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores. They believe these actors have breached federal antitrust laws in their efforts to promote ESG, asserting that these companies may have violated such laws by “coordinating and entering into collusive agreements to ‘decarbonize’ assets under management and reduce emissions to net zero.”
These companies are part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), the “world’s largest coalition of financial institutions committed to net zero.” Also included are the Net Zero Asset Managers (NZAM), a subgroup of GFANZ, with more than 300 asset manager members and over $59 trillion in assets under management.
Many argue that these companies’ actions, particularly their commitment “to reach net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner across all assets under management,” could significantly impact the fossil fuel industries as efforts are underway to transition away from gas-powered vehicles and fossil fuel power plants.
In the letters, the lawmakers expressed their concerns, stating, “We write because BlackRock, Inc. (BlackRock) is potentially violating U.S. antitrust law by entering into agreements to ‘decarbonize’ its assets under management and reduce emissions to net zero — with potentially harmful effects on Americans’ freedom and economic well-being.” They requested the corporations to provide relevant documents and information by July 20, 2023.
In a previous action, Rep. Jordan subpoenaed the CEO of Ceres, a sustainability organization, on similar concerns of possible antitrust law violation. He accused Ceres of appearing to “facilitate collusion” through Climate Action 100+, which he likened to a “cartel” that encourages businesses to act on climate change.
In response to the lawmakers’ letters, Vanguard stated, “As an asset manager owned by the investors in our funds, our unique, independent approach is focused on helping everyday retail investors achieve their long-term financial goals. We look forward to reviewing and responding to the Committee’s request.”
First published by The Daily Caller.
Jack McPherrin ([email protected]) is a managing editor of StoppingSocialism.com, research editor for The Heartland Institute, and a research fellow for Heartland's Socialism Research Center. He holds an MA in International Affairs from Loyola University-Chicago, and a dual BA in Economics and History from Boston College.