After Attorney General Todd Rokita co-led a multistate effort to stop The Vanguard Group Inc. from imposing woke ideologies onto the business models of utility companies, the firm has withdrawn its participation in the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative.
“Vanguard’s involvement in this leftist vendetta held the potential to cause real harm to Hoosier investors and energy consumers — affecting everything from retirement accounts to electricity bills,” Attorney General Rokita said. “By working together, fellow likeminded attorneys general and I have achieved an important win for free enterprise on behalf of our states.”
The Vanguard Group Inc. recently sought renewal of a blanket authorization for acquisitions of voting securities of publicly traded utilities. When the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted that authorization in 2019, however, it did so on assurances from Vanguard that it would refrain from investing “for the purpose of managing” utility companies.
Vanguard also guaranteed at that time that it would not seek to “exercise any control over the day-to-day management” of utility companies nor take any action “affecting the prices at which power is transmitted or sold.”
The firm’s recent environmental activism, however, implied that it would use its financial influence to manipulate the activities of utility companies in its portfolio.
On Wednesday, Vanguard issued a statement announcing its withdrawal from the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. The company promised to “provide the clarity our investors desire about the role of index funds and about how we think about material risks, including climate-related risks — and to make clear that Vanguard speaks independently on matters of importance to our investors.”
The coordination with the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative represented another example of so-called “ESG investing” — an emphasis on environmental, social, and governance issues by investment managers.
ESG strategies are designed not to maximize financial returns for clients but rather to impose leftist social and economic agendas that otherwise could not win approval at the ballot box.
Along with Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Attorney General Rokita has led the multistate effort to intervene in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s handling of this case.
“Vanguard’s announcement this week is an encouraging first step,” Attorney General Rokita said. “But Vanguard must do more to demonstrate that it is not attempting to impose its own leftist climate change policies on private companies and investors. We aren’t done.”