'Elon's got his opinion': State Street CEO stands by commitment to ESG

With 15 U.S. states and major players like Elon Musk opposing environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, State Street CEO Ron O'Hanley says his firm remains committed to ESG investments.

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As backlash towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies continues to mount, the CEO of one of the world's largest investment firms remains committed to advancing the goals of ESG.

Unlike BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who said ESG had been "weaponized" and become too political, State Street CEO Ron O'Hanley says his firm remains fully committed.

While attending the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland, O'Hanley told Rebel News boss Ezra Levant that State Street would not be pulling back from ESG.

The policy has become a contentious issue, with some influential figures like Elon Musk blasting ESG as a "scam". Levant asked O'Hanley about critics like Musk, with the State Street CEO responding: "Elon's got his opinion."

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, led by Musk, was removed from the S&P 500 index of companies dedicated to ESG in 2022. Musk has repeatedly said "ESG is the devil" in posts on X.

Levant asked O'Hanley about critics who say other goals — political values, like cultural Marxism or affirmative action — are being put ahead of shareholder growth.

"If there's firms that are doing that, I don't know of that," O'Hanley replied. "That's not how we do it. We have one focus, which is shareholder value. Period." When it comes to sticking with ESG, the State Street boss said, "We stick with value. It's about value, not values."

Opposition to ESG-focused investment has been rising over the last few years, with 15 U.S. states now featuring laws against ESG.

"We only focus on creating value for our shareholders," O'Hanley told Rebel News. "And if you look at our track record, that's all we've ever done. What we focus on is what do long-term investors need to be thinking about, what are the kinds of risk they need to be thinking about, and they need to make the decision.

With secret, off-the-record meetings being a regular occurrence at the WEF, Levant pressed the State Street CEO about the issue of firms like his influencing governments in an non-transparent way. O'Hanley, however, refused to tell Levant what the investment firm's goals were by attending the World Economic Forum's annual summit. 

Follow along with all of our coverage from the World Economic Forum's annual summit, and help support independent journalism at WEFreports.com.

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