State attorneys general challenge financial service providers ESG alliance

States argue the alliance may violate state and federal antitrust and consumer protection laws.

Twenty-three attorneys general, most recently including Virginia’s Jason Miyares, have banded together to challenge the Net Zero Financial Service Providers Alliance's commitment to a net-zero future by 2050, saying that the alliance may violate state and federal antitrust and consumer protection laws.

The alliance is a global group of 21 heavy-hitting financial services corporations, including BDO, Bloomberg, the Big Four and S&P Global, that have jointly committed to operating by the terms of the Paris Agreement and achieving its goals.

In doing so, the attorneys general argue, “the companies are necessarily acting to artificially restrict the supply of goods and services, which restrains trade, inhibits innovation, suppresses output and harms consumers,” according to a press release from Miyares’ office.

“Customers expect financial service firms to make objective decisions that will produce the best possible outcome for their clients. By failing to inform consumers of these conflicts of interest, NZFSPA's financial service firms are essentially taking actions to hamper the flow of goods and services to align with the Paris Agreement’s unrealistic standards. Such frivolous practices risk stunting our economy and seriously harming Virginia consumers,” said Miyares.

The NZFSPA may also be in danger of breaching antitrust laws since, according to the attorneys general, many member organizations are direct competitors now united in their efforts to use their market influence to produce desired environmental outcomes.

The coalition of attorneys general has asked for more information from the alliance to facilitate its investigation better.

The states now participating in the coalition are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.