Following a months-long investigation, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar released a list of 10 financial companies and 350 individual investment funds that are actively boycotting the oil and gas industry.
According to Hegar, “This research uncovered a systemic lack of transparency that should concern every American regardless of political persuasion.”
Earlier this year, the Comptroller’s Office sent hundreds of financial companies in Texas a survey asking them about future energy investment plans and if they were avoiding contracts with oil and gas companies. Although Hegar also considered companies’ public pledges to reach “net zero” emissions and their involvement with third-party climate change organizations, those acts were not enough to be considered a boycott.
To meet the definition of an oil and gas boycott, a company’s actions had to demonstrate a clear effort to avoid contact with a business that “engages in the exploration, production, utilization, transportation, sale, or manufacturing of fossil fuel-based energy and does not commit or pledge to meet environmental standards beyond applicable federal and state law.”
Of the financial companies investigated, the Comptroller’s office found that 10 met the requirements of an oil and gas boycott. The list includes: BlackRock, Inc., BNP Paribas SA, Credit Suisse Group AG, Danske Bank A/S, Jupiter Fund Management PLC, Nordea Bank ABP, Schroders PLC, Svenska Handelsbanken and Swedbank AB.
Hegar also criticized the popular environmental, social, and governance investing (ESG) framework, which environmentalists use to implement climate change policies and evaluate companies based on their commitment to “renewable resources.”
The “movement has produced an opaque and perverse system in which some financial companies no longer make decisions in the best interest of their shareholders or their clients, but instead use their financial clout to push a social and political agenda shrouded in secrecy,” said Hegar.
Hegar initiated the investigation after the Texas Legislature passed a law in 2021 prohibiting state agencies and local governments from engaging with companies actively boycotting fossil fuels. Following this week’s list release, these entities will have 30 days to report if they directly or indirectly own holdings in any company boycotting fossil fuels.
The reliability of “renewable” energy sources in Texas first came under scrutiny following the February 2021 winter storm. During the storm, millions of Texans suffered through extreme weather conditions without electricity after more than half of the state’s wind turbines froze.
After drawing attention to the undependable wind and solar energy market, Hegar condemned environmentalists and financial companies for blackballing the oil and gas industry and going against the interest of Texans.
“My greatest concern is the false narrative that has been created by the environmental crusaders in Washington, D.C., and Wall Street that our economy can completely transition away from fossil fuels, when, in fact, they will be part of our everyday life into the foreseeable future,” said Hegar. “A complete divestment of the industry is not only impractical and illogical but runs counter to the economic well-being of Texas and our citizens.”