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House GOP subpoenas climate group over ESG polices, possible anti-trust violations

Climate Acton 100+ is an investor initiative of which the firm is a co-founder.

Published: June 14, 2023 3:18pm

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan on Wednesday issued a subpoena to climate advocacy firm Ceres related to its efforts to advance advance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies.

The firm has previously provided information to the committee, though Jordan, in the subpoena cover letter, declared that "Ceres’s response without compulsory process has been inadequate."

"Corporations are collectively adopting and imposing progressive environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-related goals, and Ceres appears to facilitate collusion through Climate Action 100+ that may violate U.S. antitrust law," Jordan continued.

Ceres describes itself as a "nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges," adding that "[t]hrough our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future."

Climate Acton 100+ is an investor initiative of which the firm is a co-founder.

Specifically, the committee is seeking to discover to what extent the group's efforts may facilitate illegal collusion between firms. 

Corporate ESG practices, particularly in the financial sector, have come under considerable scrutiny from Republicans. ESG investing specifically involves an asset manager making targeted investments with their customers' funds that prioritize those concerns, potentially at the expense of maximizing investor returns. Such a practice, detractors argue, may constitute a breach of an asset manager's fiduciary duty to it s investors.

Among the leading proponents of such practices is asset manager BlackRock. Jordan referenced the firm in his subpoena cover letter, noting that Ceres had previously exerted little effort to identity communications relevant to the committee's document requests, searching only for the key terms "Climate Action 100+" and its derivations instead of searching for "obvious keyword search terms suggested on the face of our requests, such as ESG, BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard, ISS, Glass Lewis, or PayPal."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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