If the far left can be counted on for anything, it’s hypocrisy, as evidenced by under-the-radar investments being made by some environmental, social, and governance (ESG) equity funds.
The purpose of ESG funds is to divest from companies that are being blamed for harming the environment, worsening climate change, and not being “woke” enough. But apparently, several ESG funds are still investing in ‘Big Oil,’ because profits matter more than a liberal’s conscience, apparently.
“There’s a lot of neo-feudal claptrap floating around about saving the planet by leaving oil in the ground, switching to electrified mass transit, getting rid of air conditioning and killing all the cows,” writes Mike Landry at The Western Journal.
“In other words, let the peasants freeze/boil in the dark, squeeze together in mass-transit-driven cities and eat bugs, saving the planet’s resources for the elites to jet among their several homes,” he noted, adding: “And despite the impending demise of the planet (2030 or 2050, depending on the latest environmental prophecy), the green of the green movement is the color of money.”
But as the principals of these ESG funds rail about the evils of the fossil fuel industry, Bloomberg News reports that several of them are quietly buying stocks in oil companies:
Managers of environmental, social and governance funds are starting to shift a larger portion of their assets to oil and gas producers, especially in Europe.
European-based ESG equity funds have been increasing their investments in energy companies, including Shell Plc, Repsol SA, Aker BP ASA and Neste Oyj, according to analysts at Bank of America Corp. About 6% of the funds invested in Shell this year, compared with none in 2021.
The allocations are driven by the outperformance of fossil-fuel stocks — the S&P 500 Energy Index is up 30% this year — along with optimism that the world’s biggest oil and gas companies will spend more to make the transition to cleaner energy.
Shell, TotalEnergies SE and Equinor ASA are among the companies that have evaluated the suitability of European utilities for takeovers, according to people familiar with the matter. Potential targets include some of the region’s largest wind and solar producers, such as Iberdrola SA, Orsted A/S and SSE Renewables Ltd.
The Robeco QI Emerging Conservative Equities fund, which adheres to Article 8 of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, holds shares of carbon-intensive companies China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) and PetroChina Co.
Managers of the $2.2 billion fund justify those holdings based on their three-year plan to actively encourage Sinopec and PetroChina to boost their sustainability performance. If that engagement works, Robeco says it will raise its equity position in each of the companies. If not, it probably will divest.
Interestingly, oil companies are making some of their biggest profits amid historic jumps in prices per barrel, thanks in large part to Joe Biden’s anti-fossil fuel policies that began on his first day in office, when he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. He followed that up with the cancellation of leases on millions of acres of federal land and has made other moves — such as pushing unreliable electric vehicles — as well.
And as far as these hypocritical ESG funds, it isn’t likely they’re going to be divesting from Big Oil anytime soon.
“We are going to be operating a shrunken, old and in-need-of-repair refining system a lot harder,” Bob McNally, head of consulting firm Rapidan Energy and former senior director for international energy on the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration, told Politico. “Future presidents and administrations are going to be absolutely bedeviled by high gasoline prices.”