While in Idaho this week visiting Inspire's home office, we discussed our recent renouncement of woke "ESG" investing:
Investors Renouncing Wall Street "ESG" Investing
Let me get straight to the point: We hereby renounce ESG. We have removed ESG from the names of all our products and no longer identify our investment approach as being part of the ESG category.
For anyone who is unfamiliar, ESG is an approach to investing that seeks to ascertain potential risks and rewards inherent within an investment based on environmental, social and governance criterion, which at face value is a rather benign concept. Unfortunately, ESG has become weaponized by liberal activists to push forward their harmful, social-Marxist agenda, hence the problem.
I believe in redemption, and that Christians are left on this earth to be God’s agents of His redemptive plan until He returns. This calling often motivates me to engage in areas of culture or industry that seem pretty hopeless, for example, starting a company to inspire transformation in the financial industry by empowering Christians to invest for the glory of God with biblically responsible investing excellence and innovation. That company is Inspire Investing and as of this writing manages over $2 billion in assets, all of it with a biblically responsible investing mandate, and is listed on the Inc. 5000 among the fastest growing private companies in the nation. Praise God for His grace in bringing such redemptive victories into reality!
But sometimes, it doesn’t work out that way.
Sometimes my efforts at redemption do not result in a tangible victory and I find myself needing to shake the dust off my feet and move on, as Jesus advised His disciples, “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town” (Matthew 10:14).
We are shaking the dust off our feet right now as pertains to ESG.
Our Brief Attempt At “Faith-Based ESG”
Starting in 2019 we adopted the term “faith-based ESG” to describe our biblically responsible approach to investing and how it applies a biblical worldview to ESG criterion. We wanted to see a “two party system” in the ESG community, where biblical values could provide counterpressure on the overwhelming progressive-left dominance in the space. And earlier this year we went so far as to add the term ESG to the names of our pre-2019 strategies that did not yet include that moniker.
We knew at the time that our conservative, biblical investment strategies that fight against the abortion industry, uphold traditional beliefs on gender and sexuality and in many other ways advocate for biblical values to be respected by corporations around the world, put us squarely in the minority among ESG asset managers.
We have been ridiculed by the liberal media, antagonized at ESG industry events, blocked from databases of ESG investment options, and received countless agitated emails and phone calls. It seems the liberal ESG elitists are incredulous that “people like us” would have the audacity to show up at their party. But never afraid to step in and shine a redemptive light into a dark place, we wanted to do what we could to attempt to extinguish the blaze that the intolerance of hard-left activists had started in the ESG world as they seek to strong arm companies into acquiescence with their extremist policies.
Flames of Intolerance
However, in recent months the burning intolerance of the left hit a gas line in the ESG party hall, escalating the flames to such heights that it has become necessary for us to abandon the building before it’s torched remains collapse upon our head. The fire has gone out of control, the building is lost, and now all there is left to do is ensure that the inferno does not spread to surrounding buildings and cause collateral damage.
We see that battle lines have been drawn – not by us, but by the hard left – which squarely position us at odds with the ESG world that has been overrun by the intolerant, extremist viewpoints of hostile liberal activists. In our view, ESG has joined CRT among acronyms worth fighting against.
We did not ask for a fight, but we will never stop defending what is right and true so long as God gives us breath in our lungs and assets in our funds. May God grant us grace and strength for the battle.
Will you join us?
Robert Netzly, CEO
Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com