Sponsored Content

Consumer Organization Providing the Anti-ESG Message

A nearly 100-year-old consumer research organization is providing powerful, and sometimes strident, anti-ESG messages, many of which have been directed at some of America’s largest and most well-known corporations.

Consumers’ Research is a conservativ independent educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its stated mission is to “increase the knowledge and understanding of issues, policies, products, and services of concern to consumers and to promote the freedom to act on that knowledge and understanding.”

While the group’s origin concentrated on product testing, the organization shifted focus in 1983 to one that also weighs the impact that laws, regulations, and government programs have on consumers, according to its website. Since then, the group has targeted private companies that it believes are not considering the best interests of their clients.

The group has recently taken issue with financial titan BlackRock Investment Management and its chairman and chief executive officer Larry Fink over what it says is the company’s pursuit of a radical agenda through its environmental, social, and governance investing. Consumers’ Research issued a consumer warning regarding BlackRock, saying the company “uses its clout to push a radical agenda in coordination with other financiers through a network of international organizations.” The warning goes on to say that the New York company made commitments that are at odds with its fiduciary duty to seek the best return for its clients.

In its warning, Consumers’ Research says BlackRock “has used its position as a major shareholder of U.S. oil companies to push a left-wing agenda meant to hobble oil production. The impacts of BlackRock’s actions include higher energy costs, inflation, weakened energy infrastructure, the dismantling of fossil fuel companies, the loss of (primarily blue-collar) jobs, and weaker national security.”

Consumers’ Research further claims BlackRock’s agenda will damage industries such as agriculture, oil and gas, and mining.

Fink, in his 2022 letter to CEOs titled “The Power of Capitalism,” said, “We focus on sustainability not because we’re environmentalists, but because we are capitalists and fiduciaries to our clients.” He added that BlackRock does not pursue divestment from oil and gas companies as a company policy. Why, then, would Consumers’ Research claim otherwise?

Last year, Consumers’ Research launched an ad campaign that resembled political campaign advertising intended to counter what it sees as “woke capitalism.” The campaign cost more than $1 million spent on ads that targeted the CEOs of Coca-Cola, American Airlines, and Nike by name. The three CEOs are among corporate chief executives who have voiced opposition to Republican-supported voting laws in certain states that they considered were too restrictive.

The group said it was not going to disclose who is funding the campaign, but its anti-ESG agenda seems more clear.