Last week I spoke with Harold Hamm, the oil and gas business magnate who founded Continental Resources. Harold had given a talk at the Heritage Foundation to launch his book “Game Changer: Our 50-Year Mission to Secure America’s Energy Independence.” He devoted an entire chapter to the left-wing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda.
Harold told me that a main reason he had taken his public company private was to avoid being forced to invest in “green” energy and other ESG goals.
Another CEO of a company that exports generators informed me that he won an annual industry award several years ago. This year, he was unable even to apply, because his company had no diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or ESG policies.
Driving this movement is the American company B Lab. This company encourages other companies in the U.S. to become benefit corporations, focusing on ESG and DEI objectives rather than on generating returns for shareholders or valuable products or services for customers.
But business is already a force for good, in that it creates wealth, jobs and government tax revenues. No community is sustainable without business.
B Lab perversely suggests that business, and shareholder capitalism in general, is not a force for good, but exploitative, patriarchal and “transphobic.” B Lab is now pressuring companies to change their purposes in their articles of association in order to receive its certification and become “B Corporations.”
The U.S. government needs to put a check on this leftist “social justice” movement before it gains as much ground as it has in Canada and the United Kingdom.
In the U.K., B Lab founded the registered charity B Lab U.K., which goes even further with its justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles, the perfect JEDI mind trick to make corporate officers behave ridiculously.
Social justice may sound harmless or even positive, but creating a new fiduciary duty for company directors to “reduce harms or costs the company imposes on wider society and the environment” would potentially leave directors disqualified and personally liable if they fail to sign up to critical race theory, transgender ideology, or the “net zero” plan.
My experience working in the U.K.—where these intersectional polices are fully and unquestioningly embraced—attests to the fact that woke distractions create an unproductive and divisive working environment.
This piece originally appeared in The Hill on 8/24/2023