“The cancel culture is legit when some senators from Washington use the power of the government to do a mob-style shakedown”

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse- Brian Schatz - Martin Heinrich

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse- Brian Schatz – Martin Heinrich

Recently three Democratic Senators – Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico – sent a letter to Marathon Petroleum’s largest shareholders, including JP Morgan Chase (who just posted record-breaking annual earnings), pressuring them to boycott, divest and sanction the Ohio refining company for exercising its right to express a view on carbon and climate change that differs from the orthodoxy of the senators radical environmental theories.

The cancel culture is legit when some senators from Washington use the power of the government to do a mob-style shakedown and directly interfere in the free market to enforce their personal “green” agendas.  This type of interference could potentially open the senators up to a class-action claim for tortious interference by Marathon’s shareholders.  Maybe it should go on the Proxy for the next shareholder meeting?

In related news, some really good and humorous writers I follow at www.thewatercoolest.com wrote that, “Larry Fink is channeling his inner Greta Thunberg… presumably, from inside a Chevy Volt” when the CEO of BlackRock announced it was putting climate change and sustainability at the center of its investing approach.

BlackRock’s statement highlights how fast ESG has become a thing on Wall Street.  However, I really hope Larry checked this out with the corporate lawyers, because the wording of his letter looks to be a very, very slippery slope.

There is an argument to be made that this violates the SEC’s definition of a fiduciary, which requires investment advisors to act in the best interest of their clients and not place their own interests ahead of their investors.  Question – in prioritizing climate change and sustainability, is Larry Fink acting in Larry Finks best interest or his clients?  Sounds like another potential class-action lawsuit.

The statement may also prove be the very definition of virtue signaling because Larry Fink’s BlackRock hold a 6.7% stake in Exxon Mobil and a 6.9% stake in Chevron.

In general, I think ESG is a good thing.  It’s basically running your business the way most of us were taught – being good stewards of the environment, good neighbors in the community and treating people honestly and fairly.  Some of the people I respected and admired the most in my days growing up in the midwest were the business owners who operated with these values – well before it was called ESG.

Navigating the emerging expectations around ESG can be challenging – especial for oil and gas companies.  My suggestion is to call or email the energy communications experts at EnerCom to talk about creating an effective ESG and CSR strategy for your company.

About the Editor – Dan Genovese is a Director at the energy consulting firm EnerCom, Inc. with experience in corporate strategy, investor relations, ESG, government relations and policy.  Mr. Genovese has worked in capital markets and has experience in upstream production and downstream energy demand.  Contact: [email protected]

 

EnerCom, Inc. is the energy industry’s leading energy communication experts.  We can help you with corporate strategy, ESG, media and government and stakeholder relations to effectively communicate your company’s story.  Contact: [email protected]

 


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