Fiscal Notes: Fighting A Fossil Fuels Boycott

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(AUSTIN) — The Texas Comptroller’s office is keeping a close eye on recent trends in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and how they affect the state’s economy. In the May issue of Fiscal Notes, subscribers can learn how this agency is working to implement 2021 Texas legislation that addresses the boycotting of oil and gas companies by ESG-centric banks and investment firms.

“The concepts associated with ESG have been around for a while, and some of the information contemplated by ESG can be helpful as investors decide where and how to invest their money,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “But we’re concerned the ESG framework has become more of a marketing tool than a tool for making investment decisions. It lacks transparency and has evolved into a campaign by financial institutions to push a political agenda while restricting access to capital needed by the oil and gas industry, which is a critical sector of our state’s economy.”

As of this writing, Hegar’s office has determined 11 financial companies are boycotting the oil and gas industry pursuant to the previously mentioned legislation commonly referred to as Senate Bill 13. Texas public investment entities subject to the bill must divest from and avoid contracting with these companies unless they can demonstrate this would conflict with their fiduciary duties.

This issue of Fiscal Notes also takes a deeper dive into the ABCs of ESG investing, which is rooted in a practice called socially responsible investing that gained traction back in the 1920s.

Fiscal Notes furthers the Comptroller’s constitutional responsibility to monitor the state’s economy and estimate state government revenues. It has been published since 1975, featuring in-depth analysis concerning state finances and original research by subject-matter experts in the Comptroller’s office.

Fiscal Notes is available online and can be received by subscribing via the Comptroller’s website.