Fund managers for state and local entities in Florida will be prohibited from considering ESG factors in any investment decisions, and government entities will not be allowed to request ESG information from suppliers in the procurement process, according to new legislation proposed on Monday by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The new proposed laws form the latest move in the ongoing anti-ESG movement by Republican politicians in the U.S., which have seen several states target investors over their support for energy transition-focused investments and disclosure, warn law firms about the advice they provide to clients regarding ESG initiatives, and pressure proxy advisory firms over their support for climate and DEI-related issues.
DeSantis has been among the most vocal anti-ESG advocates, barring fund managers for state pension funds last year from incorporating ESG factors in the investment process, and recently pulling $2 billion from BlackRock over its use of ESG factors.
In a statement announcing the introduction of the new legislation “to protect Floridians from the woke environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) movement,” DeSantis said:
“By applying arbitrary ESG financial metrics that serve no one except the companies that created them, elites are circumventing the ballot box to implement a radical ideological agenda. Through this legislation, we will protect the investments of Floridians and the ability of Floridians to participate in the economy.”
Key proposals of the new proposed legislation include prohibiting the use of ESG in all investment decisions at the state and local level, and prohibiting all state and local entities from considering – or even requesting – ESG information as part of the procurement and contracting process. The new laws would also ban the use of ESG factors by state and local governments when issuing bonds.
Additionally, the new proposals would not allow the use of “Social Credit Scores” in banking and lending practices, and would prohibit banks engaged in “corporate activism” from holding government funds as a Qualified Public Depository.
In a social media post following the announcement, DeSantis added:
“ESG is a threat to the American economy and the individual freedoms that our country is built upon. It is dead on arrival in Florida.”