Four actions around corporate responsibility and investing in today’s politically divisive climate

At the end of this blog, I specify four recommendations for corporate action.

There was been a new very disturbing trend recently in state governments. They are now waging a culture war on corporations and investment organizations that focus on socially responsible investing. These same misguided elected officials are also attacking corporations with solid ESG (Environment / Sustainablity / Governance) programs and initiatives. Link to ABC news article “What is ESG investing and why are some Republicans criticizing it?”

ESG investing is a type of investing that takes into account non-financial information about a company, such as its climate impact and staff diversity. Supporters of ESG, including financial firms that manage trillions in assets, have said considerations beyond the bottom line deliver the best financial gains. In weighing the economic threat posed by climate change, for instance, investors ensure the long-term health of their portfolio.

Case 1 – Florida: In December, Florida said it is pulling $2 billion in state money managed by BlackRock over opposition to their ESG policies. Republican leaders have criticized the giant firm for putting sustainability goals above returns. This is blatantly false since strong ESG initiatives result in higher profitability in the long term as well as a better society. Sadly enough BlackRock is also being attacked (instead of supported) by activists who feel BlackRock does not go far enough.

Case 2 – North Carolina: In my own state of North Carolina, the state treasurer Dale Folwell is seeking the ouster of BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink. North Carolina has over $14 billion invested with BlackRock, and Folwell states that he has lost confidence in the firm’s ESG initiatives and investments. Folwell offers no data to back up his reasoning; he is obviously simply waging a “culture war” to position himself for the next Republican Governorship nomination.

Unfortunately money managers are now caught in the unfortunate political cross-fire.

Data shows that companies with strong ESG programs are more profitable.

Corporate America must now take the lead in supporting solid business strategy over political divisive noise based on division instead of analysis and facts. I urge corporations to take the following four actions.

1. Continue to develop and execute your own meaningful ESG programs and continue to communicate to employees and publicly the business rationale and value.

2. Continue to invest your own cash with money managers with solid ESG investment practices.

3. Refuse to provide any financial support to any national or state politician who is waging this unfounded culture war on socially responsible investing.

4. Make strong public statements supporting ERG and socially responsible investing.

Once again, as politicians battle to dismantle the excellent progress the country is making around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and ESG; corporations will now need to provide the leadership in this area.  See my recent blog about corporations needing to lead in DEI.

Stories of Love – A Valentine’s Month Blog

This is the second blog from Deanna Jones, Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer’s new consultant.  Link to Deanna’s last month’s blog, “Changing Narratives.”

I have realized there are no shortage of stories today that make us think about hate.

A Presidential Candidate recently stated, “I will sign a new executive order instructing every federal agency to cease all programs that promote the concept of sex and gender transition at any age.” Anti Transgender bills are being proposed at an accelerating rate with now over 200 bills being proposed by governing bodies around the country.

Even our own NC State Legislators have two anti trans bills that are being pushed as fast as they can to become law. While this can make you angry it makes me wonder, where can we find support? Where can we find love? Does it still exist? Of course it does, it just doesn’t get the volume in our algorithmic driven social media. Too often, hate speech makes it to the top of the search.

A crucial step to loving others is to loving yourself

Where to even begin? As always, love yourself, unconditionally, first. It’s so common to hear the advice to “love yourself before you can love others,” but it really is so true. Take some time to be over the top in love with yourself. Let go of judgments and expectations and be grateful and appreciative for all that you are.

On this month of Love, I challenge all of us to look for what is positive in our lives and how we can share that with someone. It’s important that we remember to reach out to each other to share our stories. Do you have a friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while because you might believe they think different from you? Reach out to them, ask them to have coffee. The value of small and random acts of kindness is greatly underestimated by the one engaging in the act. It doesn’t matter how you do it; this act could be something as simple as a text or a phone call.

Remember to create space for love in your life. It’s so important to create the space for all the great things you desire to come into your life. Until we take a chance and sit down together in some manner, we’re always going to be far away.

Since we have now just celebrated this St. Valentine’s Day, let’s make sure we celebrate and encourage love in all its many forms. My hope is that we all try and extend our reach a little and perhaps in the process understand each other and ourselves from a place of love.