• City Of Great Falls To Embrace ESG?

    March 14, 2024

    Opinion by JENI DODD

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    It seems the City of Great Falls is poised to embrace ESG, or actually, they may have already started. This tidbit came to light at the at the March 5 city commission meeting when City Manager Greg Doyon brought up ESG as a factor of the city’s creditworthiness score. The mere mention of ESG at the commission meeting triggered alarm bells.

    In case you don’t know what ESG means, it stands for Environmental, Social and Governance and is one of the tools the far left uses to push their political agenda. ESG has made insidious inroads into companies and organizations, but the fact that it has also managed to insert itself into local government is even more alarming.

    Reminiscent in spirit of Communist China’s social credit score but likely encompassing a wider range of criteria, financial entities such as credit scoring corporations are increasingly using ESG to put pressure on businesses to implement woke policies in order to reap higher ESG scores and gain “acceptability.”

    A poor ESG score can impact a business’s creditworthiness and thereby affect their ability to get loans. When it comes to local government, according to Doyon a lower ESG score could affect the city's creditworthiness for bonding purposes.

    “When we do our bond review process with Moody’s, they’re starting to do a risk profile that’s called ESG and it’s not something that’s talked about by local government very much but it’s Environmental, Social and Governance factors.

    So we had an interesting conversation when we were rated last time on these elements and I can tell you that I think we need help with that a little bit. I think that it’s arguable how much of an impact that would have on a potential investor if the city would go out and sell bonds for a particular project but it is a factor.”

    Moody’s, arguably the most recognized credit rating corporation in the United States, was the company mentioned by Doyon as utilizing ESG scores in rating municipalities’ creditworthiness. From a look at their website, it appears they’ve gone off the woke deep-end.

    On their website, you will find statements such as, Moody’s intends to reach net-zero emissions by 2040, consistent with its commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Business Ambition for 1.5°C; Moody’s is reporting in accordance with the World Economic Forum’s Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism expanded metrics and disclosures; and Moody’s is committed to a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture where we celebrate the differences that make us stronger.

    One concern is the impact of ESG on retirement savings plans when ESG goals take precedence over maximizing profits. In August 2022, Nineteen State Attorneys General wrote a letter to BlackRock, chief player in the financial world including state pension funds, and a supporter of ESG policies. Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen was one of the signatories.

    The letter accuses BlackRock of acting with “mixed motives” and cited a fiduciary’s duty of loyalty to “‘discharge [their] duties solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries . . . for the exclusive purposes of . . . providing benefits to participants and their beneficiaries; and . . . defraying reasonable expenses of administering the system’ rather than pursuing an ESG agenda." (https://www.azag.gov/sites/default/files/2022-08/BlackRock%20Letter.pdf)

    There has been state push back against ESG. The 2003 Montana Legislature passed, and the governor signed, HB 228, which prohibits the consideration of non-pecuniary factors such as ESG, for public investments such as state retirement funds. But it doesn’t appear to protect local governments from bond rating companies' use of ESG criteria. So municipal and county governments will still face pressure to conform or potentially have their bonds rated less desirable to investors.

    National nonprofit groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation are helping educate the public on the threat of ESG, both financial and political. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, activists are using ESG policies as a cudgel to try to force companies to bend to the will of their political causes.

    The Heritage Foundation calls ESG, the Left’s latest political tool to use businesses and financial institutions to advance progressive ideology in American society.

    According to the foundation, ESG promotes: no oil, no gas; solar subsidies; climate change disclosures; critical race theory; pro-abortion policies; transgender activism; employee race quotas; compensation tied to ESG goals; and social credit scores.

    To deal with the ESG threat, The Heritage Foundation has started an ESG initiative called ESG Hurts: https://esghurts.com. The initiative’s website includes model state legislation to deal with ESG, informative videos and other resources.

    It remains to be seen what policies the City of Great Falls will implement or may have already implemented, in order gain acceptance from tyrannical ESG overlords.

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    As the name Great Falls implies get ready for some Great Falls!!!!!

    Sally Tucker

    Thanks for the thought-provoking report.
    Have heard rumblings that investment groups are pulling out of these fascist agreements with UN & WEF.
    Citizen investors need to be alert and proactive.
    And also would do well to require complete transparency from Cities and Counties about their investment contracts?
    Too many 'experts' have led us down the path to destruction...with taxpayers left holding the bag.


    excellent coverage of the war upon the men and women of this land. China was the beta test and ESG is the vehicle to carry world-wide communism into OUR LAND. all of it will succeed so long as greedy stock market beneficiaries continue to allow their retirement funds to be used to enslave themselves and their progeny. As God has warned us- "For the LOVE of money is the root of all evil." (not money. but the LOVE of it.)
    search these things up

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