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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

Last week, one of Texas’ own largest state funds worked a loophole in the state’s anti-ESG law. This week, ESGToday reports that UK-based bank Barclays isn’t interested in even playing the game:

“Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that the state has banned Barclays from participating as an underwriter in Texas’ municipal bond market, following the company’s failure to respond to requests for information over its ESG policies…

Barclays was identified as a potential ‘fossil fuel boycotter’ due to its participation in a net zero alliance, and was sent a letter in November, alongside other banks including Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, among others, asking for more information concerning its ESG commitments… Barclays informed the AG that it would not be able to respond to the inquiry, leading to the ruling that ‘until further notice, we will not approve any public security issued on or after today’s date in which Barclays purchases or underwrites the public security or is otherwise a party to a covered contract relating to the public security.'”

One bank’s actions may not change the tide, but it comes at a time when even the state is itself looking for work-arounds and other states with anti-ESG laws face the cost of defending them. Questions still remain about whether such laws are even effective – for any purpose other than political theater.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile