Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria

25 October 2023 , categories: ESG, Manchester, Meetings

The Manchester group shared knowledge and concerns about ESG criteria and how they shape the financial and working environment for individuals, businesses and countries.


On Wednesday 25th October 2023, Politics in Pubs met at the Welcome Inn, Bury Old Road, Whitefield, Manchester M45 6TA (see here for location).

Our topic was Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria.  Unfortunately our scheduled speaker was unable to attend, so the discussion commenced with some observations about the origins of ESG criteria made in the unHerd website article: BlackRock’s tyrannical ESG agenda,

The article’s author, John Masko, describes how:

“ESG first entered the investment and banking mainstream as a survival strategy. …. Amid the wreckage of the 2008 Financial Crisis and then the ululations of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, public suspicion of big banks and corporations was at an all-time high.”

“Finance in particular became a morality play: financial institutions were the greedy villains, while policymakers played the heroic civic advocates reining them in.  For Blackrock, the chances of continuing to grow freely in such a hostile policy climate seemed remote.”

“But Blackrock’s leaders had an epiphany… What if big investment banks could rebrand themselves as so unimpeachably virtuous and civic-minded that their virtue outshone even their regulators themselves?”

“The ESG principles underpinning that strategy had already been written.  The 2004 United Nations report ‘Who Cares Wins” which introduced the principles of ESG to a worldwide audience, suggested that investors would make higher long-term profits if they put more emphasis on environmental and social progress.”

Masko observes that Environmental mostly focuses on implementing CO2 reduction goals, while Social means anything related to the UN’s stated social goals such as gender parity, racial justice, and poverty reduction.  In other words, harmonising the priorities of political elites with those of business leaders and both shunting aside the priorities of individual investors and punishing company leaders who oppose the ESG agenda.


It seems that ESG is all about virtue-signalling and, for corporations, money-making.   Many are either happily jumping on the ESG bandwagon or are afraid of the consequences of being seen not to.

Is the extent of a person’s exhibited ‘virtue’ beginning to replace the hierarchy of social class?  We are seeing a massive rise of virtue-signalling without substance, where critical thinking is no longer expected or welcomed.

Some of the virtuous can be referred to as ‘elites in denial’ – people who speak with the authority of the ‘I am better than you’ elite (think the Two Ronnies sketch featuring John Cleese), yet claim to be for equality.  They mistakenly believe that ESG criteria box ticking, flag waving and virtue-signalling – and demonising those who don’t – is the same as caring for the environment and the less fortunate.

ESG is limiting and undermining Western industries by subjecting them to impediments not experienced by their competitors.

Companies and corporations are using ESG and the climate change ‘greenwashing’ industry opportunities in order to make huge profits.  A significant portion of that profit is from taxpayers’ money controlled by governments and councils who feel obliged to comply with the ESG demands of ‘compassionate fascists’ on the New Left side of politics.

People are generally divided into three groups re: the effects of ESG on their everyday lives:  1) true believers; 2) those who don’t pay attention; 3) those whose empathy with other people has been weaponised against them e.g. fear of being vilified or seen as a bad person for questioning a child’s perception of being in the ‘wrong’ body.

Globalism is the centre of power – why is it all in the West?  Because multi-national companies are all in the West.  Developing countries will do what is necessary without complying with ESG.  Globalism and the the New Left are scratching each other’s back and spreading across the West from the US.

Globalism means monopoly and control, and corporatism not competition.  Capitalism means competition so globalism and capitalism are not interchangeable.  Globalisation is a natural progression of capitalism where it is looking to expand in order to control – this is politically dangerous for ordinary people.

The Old Left faded after collapse of the Soviet Union.  The New Left comprises progressives, the woke, intersectional and the ‘green’ agenda.  The Old Left Labour Party’s Clause 4 commitment to nationalism was removed by Blair.

The political and managerial classes have a global outlook and are divorced from the population.  The elite transcends nations.

China sees the West’s struggle with the ESG agenda as a business opportunity – China makes greenwashing goods to sell to Western hand wringers without complying with ESG itself.

Organisations like banks and building societies don’t realise that ESG virtue signalling can make some customers believe that they are not sufficiently focused upon their core business i.e. lending to customers and growing their savings.

Engineers know that Net Zero is nonsense because of the energy demands and cost caused by removing oil and gas from processes.

Corporations expecting unequivocal ESG compliance from employees and other professionals are enacting an ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ scenario, which damages their credibility, and creates mistrust and division instead of harmony.

The BBC promotes a campaigning narrative on many issues with little or no discussion, unlike in the French media.

The Net Zero agenda is failing: e.g. Germany is abandoning some of its wind farms for coal-powered stations.  As discussed in Masko’s article and shown in the links below, ESG businesses are also beginning to fail.   But how much will the return to sanity cost us?




Thank you

Many thanks to all Politics in Pubs members who attended the meeting, for your thoughtful, constructive and informative contributions, and to our wonderful hosts at The Welcome Inn.  Cheers all!

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