US politics

'Woke' CEOs and climate agenda under fire

In an extension of the culture war, Republicans are attacking – with laws and rhetoric – companies for promoting ESG policies.

An oil refinery in Texas. Conservatives in the US, closely aligned with the oil and gas industries, have begun calling foul. PHOTO: AFP
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On a muggy day in Tampa this summer, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida took the podium and unleashed an attack on what he claimed was one of the principal threats to the livelihoods and freedoms of upstanding American citizens. "This is something in many respects that is crushing the little guy," he said. "So we want to make sure that we're standing on the side of average people."

Mr DeSantis was not talking about aggression from overseas, high gas prices, inflation, pandemic lockdowns or even the Democratic Party. Instead, he was talking about the rise of ESG, a catch-all term in the corporate world used to denote a business' focus on issues such as climate change and diversity.

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