In a groundbreaking lawsuit filed Monday, the state of Tennessee sued BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset management firm, for harming current and potential Tennessee consumers via the firm’s so-called environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments. The suit specifically takes aim at decisions BlackRock has made “to achieve various climate-related policy goals,” which Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti says violate consumer protection laws.
The suit details how BlackRock is joined with ESG climate coalitions, like the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative and Climate Action 100+. Thanks to its alliances with these ESG entities, the suit contends, BlackRock makes key company decisions based not on what will obtain the highest profit, but on what will instead move the world closer to radical “net zero” goals.
“BlackRock has articulated two inconsistent positions: one focusing solely on money and the other focusing on environmental impact,” Skrmetti said in a statement, alleging that BlackRock is “misleading” investors and consumers. “Tennessee consumers deserve to know which of BlackRock’s statements are a true account of the company’s decision-making.”
The Tennessee lawsuit is key in the battle against the growing consolidation of wealth and power among a small group of left-wing elites with no consideration for consumers. ESG standards are powerful, rewarding or punishing companies based on how well they push leftist orthodoxy on things like skin color, the sexes, and climate alarmism. If you’ve ever wondered why Bud Light pulled its disastrous Dylan Mulvaney stunt, ESG is your answer.
“These big asset managers have unbelievable amounts of leverage over the economy,” Skrmetti told The Federalist. “BlackRock has almost $10 trillion in assets under management.” This is why BlackRock, as well as other major investment firms and big banks, can act as ESG enforcers on businesses.
As Federalist contributor Justin Haskins explained, “BlackRock has been one of the world’s biggest supporters of ESG metrics, using its power as one of the world’s largest shareholders to pressure companies to change society.”
In other words, BlackRock and other major financial entities are shaping culture and enforcing policies outside the electoral consent of regular citizens. Skrmetti described this as “shadow regulations” created by individuals who have “no accountability to the people.”
“That’s the exact opposite of what America is,” Skrmetti said. “We are a self-governing people,” where “accountability ultimately has to lie with the voters.” The Tennessee attorney general warned, “If you remove [power] from the voters, it starts this cascading catastrophe that will ultimately hurt all of us in ways that we can’t fully appreciate.”
According to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, soon “everything we do” will be dictated by ESG scores. Indeed, as author Michael Rectenwald put it, ESGs act as a “Chinese-style social credit score for rating corporations. Woke planners wield the ESG Index to reward the in-group and to squeeze nonwoke players out of the market. Woke investment drives ownership and control of production away from the noncompliant. The ESG Index serves as an admission ticket for entry into the woke cartels.”
But ESGs aren’t simply an assault on people’s social values and economic freedom, they also pose a threat to people’s lives. BlackRock’s war on fossil fuels, which is mentioned in the Tennessee lawsuit, could kill an untold number of people. Fossil fuels have provided humans with things like heating and air conditioning, saving generations from life-threatening climate disasters and extreme weather. Fossil fuels, in part, helped cut climate-related disaster deaths by 99 percent compared to a century ago.
Moreover, the higher standard of living provided by fossil fuels is why the industrialized world enjoys lower poverty rates, longer life expectancies, and lower infant mortality rates than the non-industrialized world.
If BlackRock has its way, however, humanity will descend into a “net-zero” nightmare, where regular citizens are deprived of basic things like reliable transportation, electricity, heating and cooling systems, and mass food production.
BlackRock’s Deep Pockets
BlackRock has already responded to the lawsuit by denying all wrongdoing, and Skrmetti told The Federalist that he expects BlackRock to put up a formidable fight. “Blackrock is an enormous corporation with very, very deep resources,” Skrmetti said. “I have no doubt the legal team that they are assembling to defend this case will be extraordinary and aggressive and very challenging for us to deal with.”
“At the end of the day, this is a simple, simple case,” he added. “Is the company able to articulate two separate policies that contradict each other? Or can they not do that? And that’s the beauty of the consumer protection case. It’s not a complicated law. It just says you got to be honest.”