West Virginia Treasure Moore praises S&P Global Ratings as they discontinue ESG scores

09 August 2023- West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore today commended S&P Global Ratings for its recent decision to discontinue issuing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credit indicators as part of its ratings analyses.

“I’m grateful S&P Global has responded to our calls to ditch these subjective, politically motivated ESG ratings scores and instead go back to relying on more solid, objective financial metrics in their analyses,” Treasurer Moore said. “The ESG movement has been outed as a scam being perpetrated by global elites to implement their radical social agendas, and this is a clear victory in our fight to stop it.”

S&P Global announced on Aug. 4 it would immediately stop publishing alphanumeric ESG credit indicators for publicly rated entities. The company began issuing ESG scorecards for public companies in 2021 and for U.S. states and territories on March 31, 2022.

In April 2022, Treasurer Moore condemned this new subjective ratings scheme and called on the company to end it. Financial officers and state officials in Utah, Idaho and Kentucky also sent letters critical of the scheme.

“This ratings scheme was poised to be the first step in a slippery slope toward placing ESG scores on all citizens, threatening their financial security if they did not fall in line with the woke agenda,” Treasurer Moore said. “The fact that S&P Global has stepped back provides hope for a return to financial sanity in America.”

S&P Global Ratings is one of a select group of firms that issue credit ratings to various public and private institutions. These ratings affect the borrowing costs and investment-grade status of the underlying company or government agency.

“If this scheme had been allowed to continue, taxpayers in conservative states across the country could have been forced to pay higher borrowing costs because Wall Street elites did not approve of their political choices,” Treasurer Moore said.

West Virginia has been leading the way to target ESG activism on Wall Street.

Last January, Treasurer Moore was the first state official to divest funds from BlackRock over its ESG activism. He also championed legislation to create the country’s first Restricted Financial Institutions List, which prohibits state business with firms shown to be engaged in boycotts of the fossil fuel industries.

Earlier this year, Treasurer Moore proposed House Bill 2862, which was overwhelmingly passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jim Justice. The bill requires the state’s investment boards – which manage more than $34 billion in public pension and state investment funds – to cast proxy votes solely based on the financial interests of pensioners and taxpayers, rather than Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors.