Texas Skeptical About Banking Firms Saying They’ve Abandon ESG Investment Policies

The administration of Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott remains skeptical about financial institutions recently claiming to have withdrawn from environmental, social and governance investing policies touted as fighting climate change.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management and State Street Global Advisors recently announced they would withdraw from the Climate Action 100+, “an investor-led initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitter take necessary action on climate change.”

Climate Action 100+ says to have more than 700 investors who have $68 trillion in assets. The group created a “net zero standard for oil and gas” targeting 10 companies, several of which are headquartered in Texas.

State Street recently said the Phase 2 requirements of Climate Action 100+ for participants “are not consistent with our independent approach to proxy voting and portfolio company engagement.”

BlackRock Inc. also recently announced it would scale back its commitment to but transferred its membership to a subsidiary, BlackRock International Ltd.

The announcements came after Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar continues adding financial companies to the list of those that boycott the oil and natural gas industry by implementing ESG policies. Fifteen companies and 353 publicly traded investment funds are on the list, including Blackrock, Inc., which has been on the list since August 2022.

Hegar has said, “Texas has been a leader in calling out investment firms that have been playing politics with the retirement money of hard-working Americans. Our goal has always been to bring some honesty to what has really been a one-sided and intellectually dishonest discussion.”