Over the last couple of years, many companies have implemented ESG programs, and EDI, a recent advent, has gone into hyper-drive. ESG policies have institutionalized corruption, with NGOs—which should be working for the welfare of locals—taking fat checks from companies. ESG has encouraged locals to become whiners and has created space for crooked local leaders to emerge, with NGOs as mediators. ESG has become a vicious cycle of entitlements, grievances, corruption, and dependence. EDI is the bigotry of low expectations, much worse than on-the-face racism, where you know at least what the bigotry is about. EDI is extraordinarily condescending toward the so-called underprivileged groups.
by Jayant Bhandari for International Man
Holier than Thou with ESG
Over the last couple of years, many companies have implemented ESG programs. And EDI, a recent advent, has gone into hyper-drive. Of course, only the acronyms are quoted, for every “woke” person should know what they mean. ESG stands for Environment, Social, and Government.
No one cares to explain how ESG is different from the need to follow legitimate laws. It has become a checklist, devoid of the spirit of ethical conduct, a way to earn brownie points by acting holier than thou.
From a recent presentation of Franco-Nevada – this is something now common across businesses and is not meant to criticize it specifically.
ESG policies have institutionalized corruption, with NGOs, which should be working for the welfare of locals, taking fat checks from companies. ESG has encouraged locals to become whiners and has created space for crooked local leaders to emerge, with NGOs as mediators. ESG has become a vicious cycle of entitlements, grievances, corruption, and dependence.
It is not the job of corporations to do social work, for which they are not trained, skilled or competent. What they do is for marketing, propaganda, and virtue-signaling purposes, forcing their leadership to be hypocritical and spread such conduct downstream. Naïve investors, distant from on-the-ground realities, ultimately support this trend.
When conducting on-site visits, we analysts used to discuss the propaganda related to ESG. As time has gone by, we are talking less and less about this, for such discussion has come to be seen as politically incorrect. The new generation of analysts, people who have been brought up in the “woke” culture, cannot even see the game being played.
Condescension via EDI
EDI stands for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion and is gaining momentum very rapidly. In a recent panel discussion I took part in, analysts were grilling mining companies. The first question a $8 million company faced was from a colored female who wanted to know why their board of directors lacked diversity.
Small companies simply do not have patience or the necessary leeway to get into virtue-signaling, although the damage that EDI causes to big companies is no less, even if it is hidden.
Since the time Justin Trudeau became the Prime Minister of Canada, it has become elitist to have top leadership reflecting society’s demographics.
Why should “minorities” and women be dependent on a specific section of society, which of course, are males of European ethnicity? By implication, EDI constitutes evidence that people of color, women, and LGBTQs cannot stand on their own feet and rise in life through their merit. And if this is true, why not accept it?
EDI is the bigotry of low expectations, much worse than on-the-face racism, where you know at least what the bigotry is about. EDI is extraordinarily condescending toward the so-called underprivileged groups. I find it repulsive if someone thinks I should get an extra push because of my skin color. I wonder why more women, people of color, and LGBTQs are not rising up against the condescending approach, racism, and sexism inherent in EDI.
In India, where affirmative policy has a long history, I have no choice but to question how competent someone from the lower caste would be in a position of authority. Would I go to a doctor from the lower caste? But similar thinking has to start in the West as EDI continues and grows. Suffering the most will be the competent people who will be prejudiced against because they are not the “correct” race, ethnicity, or sex, and incompetent people who are put into positions of authority by the fact of their ethnicity, color, or gender will be the beneficiaries of EDI.
The true believers make the hollow concepts of ESG and EDI sound like the end of history. When I see too much of ESG/EDI in a company’s presentation, I move on without wasting any more of my time.
The path of political correctness and virtue-signaling that the West has undertaken always reminds me of South Africa, which at one point in time had First World infrastructure.
During my first visit to a company in Johannesburg more than a decade ago, I thought I had come to a car show—the parking lot had some of the most expensive cars in the world. Black Economic Empowerment, their EDI, had enabled blacks to rise in the leadership hierarchy without any need for merit. As time has gone by, South Africa’s infrastructure has fallen apart. Power outages, lack of water supply, crime, potholes on the road, and a general lack of law and order have worsened continuously.
The Boeing 737 Max airplane suffered two fatal accidents. To what extent were the accidents attributable to design work that had been done in low-cost, low work-ethic jurisdictions? Did those in leadership positions discuss the possibility of such risks, or was this deemed too politically incorrect?
To what extent were forest fires in California or the recent power outages in Texas a result of EDI, where people have been elevated to positions of authority despite a lack of competence? We will never know the specifics, for people in the West no longer say anything that might be seen as bigoted. Those who dare say something get booted out.
Errors accumulate with no one to challenge them. The ESG/EDI concepts pursued in the West are essentially copying the South African model of social change, which is anti-meritocratic and will destroy institutions and civilization.