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West Virginia State Treasurer Moore, IMB head differ over anti-ESG bill

By Steven Allen Adams, Parkersburg News and Sentinel

CHARLESTON — A bill meant to give West Virginia money managers more say over investment decisions to ensure state investments are not funding anti-fossil fuel and anti-conservative causes put the state’s top banker against the head of the state’s Investment Management Board.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended for passage Wednesday afternoon House Bill 2862, dealing with requirements for shareholder voting by the West Virginia Investment Management Board (IMB) and the Board of Treasury Investments (BTI).

HB 2862 would ensure that all shareholder votes by or on behalf of IMB and BTI are cast according to the specific factors that would affect the interests of investment beneficiaries. The bill is aimed at making sure the state doesn’t invest state funds based on factors like environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG).ESG is a form of investing in companies by financial institutions based on factors that go beyond financial issues.

Financial institutions and investors use ESG to determine investment strategies based on a company’s commitment to environment or climate change, social justice, and how a company treats its workforce in areas of equity.

State Treasurer Riley Moore, a supporter of the bill, believes it will send a message to companies, financial institutions, and investment firms using ESG to limit or prohibit investments in the fossil fuel industry, including coal and natural gas production in West Virginia. …

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