The backlash against ESG has hit bonds, stocks, corporates
In a recent survey, half of large investors in North America now admit to worrying that ESG exposes them to legal risk. When companies want to create a Green-Woke project they issue ESG bonds to get loans to build it, but sometime between last year and this year those Bonds have halved. Suddenly companies are not dressing up in the Big Green cloak. That's $6 billion in ESG investments that didn't happen.
The change in direction has been driven by Florida and Texas and the 19 or more states that have joined them. Even though the $2b in funds Ron De Santis pulled from BlackRock et al last year was a drop in the ocean for a $10 trillion dollar fund, it was the tip of a spear at the heart of the beast. The financial houses and asset managers were using other people's money to force through political changes those same people didn't want to vote for. If the crowd followed De Santis the whole game was up.
De Santis has just tightened the screws further today:
By Marvin G Perez, Bloomberg
The new legislation prohibits Florida municipalities from selling bonds tied to ESG projects, as well as imposing restrictions on seeking ESG ratings. In 2022, Florida issuers sold $13 billion of long-term bonds, making it the fourth-largest issuer in the US, behind California, New York and Texas.
The law also bars Florida's public money from being deposited in financial institutions that are deemed to pursue "social, political, or ideological interests" in their investment decisions. Florida had almost $37 billion in state deposits…
It's a phase change in the US with an exodus from ESG Bonds:
US ESG Bond Market Chokes on Republican Backlash, Investor Angst