Attacks on ESG Investing are also attacks on company support for Sustainability

Timothy Smith is Senior Policy Advisor at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. This post is based on his ICCR memorandum. Related research from the Program on Corporate Governance includes The Illusory Promise of Stakeholder Governance (discussed on the Forum here) and Will Corporations Deliver Value to All Stakeholders? (discussed on the Forum here) both by Lucian A. Bebchuk and Roberto Tallarita; Stakeholder Capitalism in the Time of COVID (discussed on the Forum here) by Lucian Bebchuk, Kobi Kastiel, and Roberto Tallarita; and Restoration: The Role Stakeholder Governance Must Play in Recreating a Fair and Sustainable American Economy—A Reply to Professor Rock (discussed on the Forum here) by Leo E. Strine, Jr.

Attacks on ESG Investing and “Woke Capitalism“ are also attacks on company endorsements of and support for Sustainability.

In the last year there has been a mounting wave of attacks against “ Woke Capitalism” and ESG Investing . These attacks are seen in state legislatures and the Congress, by Presidential candidates and conservative nonprofits. These attacks are mostly part of the American landscape while in Europe support for ESG Investing and company sustainability are widely supported. Interestingly these public attacks on “woke capitalism” include Wal-Mart as much as BlackRock.

Literally thousands of major companies publish annual sustainability or Corporate Responsibility reports where they discuss their values, the business case for acting as responsible corporate citizens and detail their goals and work on the environment , social issues and governance. Others work along other companies in their industry to promote leadership on issues like methane reduction, human rights in the supply chain, reduction of the use of plastic, or use of minority owned vendors.

And The Business Roundtable’s 2019 Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, endorsed by 181 CEOs, correctly acknowledged that the modern corporation had to be accountable to all its stakeholders including its workers, customers, and the communities where it operates. Sustainability for business includes scores of corporate responsibility issues.

The point is not whether every company endorsing sustainability would receive a A+ Grade for delivering on each of these issues. Rather that these companies understand the compelling business case for sustainability, the long term positive impact on shareholder value and the need to endorse it. They endorse this direction not because they are following a “left wing agenda” as alleged, or were compelled to do so by outside pressure groups, but because they understand this is a sensible and prudent way to do business. This is a growing trend in the global business community and is not one that companies are likely to retreat from.

It is important to highlight examples of corporate commitment to sustainability to drive this point home. We include a series of quotes from companies making the case for sustainability in their business. The quotes are just the tip of a very large iceberg!

In summary, the attacks on ESG and “woke capitalism” are attacks on the views and sustainability work of thousands of companies who invest capital, make products and hire employees in the very states that are leading the attacks against ESG.

Accenture CEO, Julie Sweet: “I’m a CEO who understands what brings value… Sustainability matters to our employees from a recruiting standpoint, it matters to our clients, it’s part of our regulatory landscape, it matters to consumers. That’s not changing because of what politicians want to call it (in reference to Gov. DeSantis). ESG has been fantastic for recruits, brings it to life for our clients, and we are embedding it in our work.”

Alphabet CFO, Ruth Porat: “Operating our business in an environmentally and socially responsible way has been a core value since our founding in 1998. Google has been carbon neutral since 2007 and we’ve matched our entire electricity consumption with renewables for the past three years. We continue to make major investments in afford- able housing and have made a number of significant commitments to promote racial equity.”

Alphabet Chief Sustainability Officer, Kate Brandt: “Climate change affects all aspects of society, from food pro- duction and human health to infrastructure and the economy. These impacts are interconnected and can have a cascading effect on people and the planet. The response calls for systemic, global action to reduce emissions, improve watershed health, maximize the reuse of finite resources, and protect biodiversity.

Since Google was founded, our efforts to mitigate climate change have started with our own operations, and we’ve worked hard to lead by example with the ultimate goal of driving larger systemic change. In our third decade of climate action, we’ll continue to take a science-based approach to our efforts, while sharing our own lessons and progress with others.

I joined Google eight years ago to lead our sustainability efforts and have witnessed our sense of urgency and ambition firsthand. We’re empowering individuals, governments, businesses, and other organizations to make decisions that can drive positive action for people and our planet.

We expect this new era of technological innovation to open up even greater opportunities to accelerate system level change. It’s a big part of the reason we’re optimistic about what’s possible in the years ahead. If we move forward collectively and decisively, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.”

Amazon CEO, Andy Jassy: “By joining the First Movers Coalition, we are sending a clear signal that companies like Amazon are seeking long-term low-carbon fuel solutions to help us achieve net-zero carbon by 2040. We welcome the Biden administration and the World Economic Forum’s decision to launch the First Movers Coalition, which will help further accelerate our efforts to decarbonize our operations through real business change and innovation.”

Apple CEO, Tim Cook: “The choice between the bottom line and the future of our planet is a false one, and each new green innovation offers the proof. This is no time for changes at the margins. Together, we can transition to a car-bon-neutral economy and usher in a new era of inclusive opportunity.”

Bank of America CEO, Brian Moynihan: “How can we rely on and help the innovation and energy of capitalism to address the priorities of our communities and society AND benefit our shareholders? Capitalism provides the money, the creativity, and the expertise to solve the needs of society.

Our goal continues to be a company where people want to work today and build a career. The reward for our share- holders is lower turnover costs.

We continue to recruit, develop, and retain a diverse and inclusive workplace. We know that when our workforce reflects the communities we serve, we can better serve our clients while also creating an environment where people want to perform their best.

We continue to help drive sustainability through our work with clients to help them transition to a secure, low-car- bon economy. We are committed to helping facilitate that just energy transition, with clean energy that is affordable, sustainable and secure.

At the same time, we are helping catalyze efforts globally by playing a lead role in multiple global organizations to give private companies from all sectors the opportunity to exchange ideas and consider transactions and investments that can help accelerate the transition.

What we show in the metrics in this report is the progress we are making as well as the alignment to what society wants from capitalism—to produce profits and purpose. That perpetual motion machine of capitalism can continuously invest in progress on the goals described below. Charity is wonderful, but it doesn’t provide enough money. Governments are large spenders, but they are short on cash and run huge deficits, so they really don’t have the money to drive sustained progress. Government policies shift and therefore long-term change is hard to achieve. Companies around the world, when aligned to the tasks generate activity that dwarfs the efforts of other sectors. It is sustained by the profits, which draw more capital.”

Charter Communications CEO, Christopher L. Winfrey: “Our ESG efforts continue to be structured in a comprehensive three-pillar framework to reflect how our business drives sustained value in a virtuous cycle. By investing in a highly skilled workforce, we are able to deliver a superior network that connects communities. The services we deliver are vital to our customers and the communities we serve, which is why we established the following goals to help create long-term value through sustainable connectivity.”

Chevron General Manager, Lisa Epifani: “Sustainability is not a new concept for Chevron. The goals of sustainability are reflected in the values of The Chevron Way and are key to our objective to deliver higher returns, lower carbon. Through our company history, we have worked on areas related to environmental stewardship, social issues and good governance — even if they were not yet called ESG or sustainability.”

Citi CEO, Jane Fraser: “We are living through a period defined by unprecedented change. Every company I know is continually assessing its strategies, because it is abundantly clear that the geopolitical, social, environmental and technological developments of the next decade will have impacts for generations to come.

At Citi, helping our clients navigate the challenges and embrace the opportunities of our rapidly changing world is fundamental to our mission of enabling growth and economic progress. Importantly, it’s also vital to our own business and central to how we deliver for our clients and help them sustain their businesses for the future.

Simply put, the energy transition, energy security and economic growth are not mutually exclusive and must be tackled simultaneously.

Within our own walls, we are committed to creating a company that reflects the diverse communities we serve. This ensures that we have a multitude of perspectives to truly understand our clients’ challenges and opportunities and help them prosper. It also gives us a competitive edge in the talent market and helps us attract and retain the best talent from all backgrounds.

Whether it’s the drive to net zero, expanding financial inclusion, or investments in local infrastructure, we are backing up our commitments with action and measurable results and positioning Citi for a new era of success.

Coca-Cola CEO, James Quincey: “If ESG becomes toxic as a phrase… It doesn’t matter to me. I’m just gonna stop saying ‘ESG’. But the idea that for my basic product, I want to be water positive, I want to have a circular economy on my packaging and I want to grow our business with less sugar– you can call it anything you like but no one with common sense says those are bad ideas. My business strategy is constant and clear and centered around the business and the things that consumers care about and that fix societal problems. If people want to attach labels to it, that’s their issue. I’m saying that business will be great if I fix these problems, and it will be good for shareholders and be good for society.”

“Our strategy is clear. It’s centered around people – our consumers and employees – and driving sustainable solutions that build resilience into our business to respond to current and future challenges, while creating positive change for the planet.

Our water, packaging and climate goals are interconnected. For example, by creating a circular economy for packaging, we can lower our carbon footprint. By approaching water stewardship from a basin perspective, we participate in initiatives that increase communities’ resilience to extreme weather events, alongside our partners. Our approach to climate is rooted in science, and we’ve set a science-based target to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030, against a 2015 baseline. As of 2022, we have reduced our emissions by 7% against this baseline.

We’re committed to creating a culture of inclusion and belonging and to driving meaningful change in our communities. By 2030, we aspire to be 50% led by women globally. Today, 39% of our senior leaders are women.”

Con Edison CEO, Tim Cawley: “Sustainability means many things to Con Edison, but above all, it means meeting the needs of the 10 million people who rely on us for energy in New York City, Westchester, Orange and Rockland Counties in a way that’s consistent with the fight against climate change. That will require us to decarbonize our own facilities, deliver climate-neutral energy to our customers, and harden our infrastructure so it can withstand the impacts of climate change.

Con Edison’s workers are tasked with achieving these ambitions, while maintaining safe and reliable service, and keeping customer affordability in mind. Project by project, street by street, we are building a grid that will deliver carbon-free energy by 2040.

In the years ahead, demand for electricity will rise sharply while demand for natural gas falls, as our customers shift to electric vehicles and keep warm with electric heat pumps. Meeting that electric demand growth requires transformative investments in the grid today.

Sustainability means fostering a vibrant workforce that’s passionate about the job at hand, equipped to meet the challenges ahead, and reflective of the communities we serve. More than simply a great place to work, we want our employees to know they are making a lasting impact on society. As our workplace becomes more diverse, equitable and inclusive, the company becomes stronger, more resilient, and more intertwined with New York’s communities.”

ConocoPhillips CEO, Ryan Lance: “Throughout 2021, a year of challenge and transformation, our sustainable development (SD) priorities remained a foundational element of our long-term value proposition. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, including climate risk management, remained a strong focus of our ongoing engagements with a wide range of external stakeholders including the financial sector, policymakers, and residents in the areas in which we operate.”

Exxon CEO, Darren Woods: “I don’t think any company’s been around—particularly one that has the exposure that we do with regards to the impact on the environments and communities that we operate in—I don’t think you can survive for 140 years and not have ESG elements, or the focus of ESG, embedded in your organization. It’s a really critical component of our success.”

Ford Executive Chair, Bill Ford and CEO, Jim Farley: “Today, our industry and our world are going through a period of immense change. We believe it gives us the opportunity to create the most value for the company and our customers since Henry Ford scaled the Model T.

Climate change, for example, is among the biggest challenges of our generation. We all share the responsibility to address the threat it poses to our economy, our health, and our way of life. Just like the Model T revolutionized mobility, we believe electrification can do the same for reducing carbon emissions. So, we have been transforming our business to lead the electric revolution at scale, creating distinct but complementary businesses – Ford Model e, Ford Blue and Ford Pro – that will help us compete and win in the new era of electric and connected vehicles.

Our aspiration is to achieve a business model that goes beyond net-zero and becomes a net positive for both the environment and the economy.

Investing in electric vehicles is the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren. It is also the right thing to do for our business. We are proving that you can drive prosperity and protect the planet at the same time, and investors are taking notice.

At Ford, we have always strived to take the long view on the environment, even when it was unpopular. We were one of the first industrial companies to publish our progress towards sustainability, one of the first automakers to support the Paris Agreement, and the only full-line American automaker to partner with California on more stringent emissions standards. Now, we intend to lead the industry in another respect by putting a spotlight on human rights.

Ford is publishing a Human Rights Report – a first for the company and for our industry. It will examine how our materials are sourced, where our products are manufactured, and how our labor standards measure up. Countries around the world are defining access to clean air and water as fundamental human rights. We at Ford agree – and are setting clear targets for reducing the global emissions of our entire supply chain. Whenever the world faces disruption and uncertainty, Ford has stepped up to shape it for the better. We are at our best when we are creating something larger than ourselves. In this time of profound change, we will answer the call to lead our industry towards a more sustainable future, while giving our customers the very best of Ford.”

General Mills CEO, Jeffery Harmening: “Today, we are more committed than ever to ensure the G in General Mills stands for Good – for the people we serve and the planet we depend on.

This past year we have made progress against our ongoing commitment to diversity in leadership and talent acquisition, including an increase in the percentage of people of color in leadership roles across General Mills, and an increase in the percentage of women on our Board of Directors.

Our focus on standing for people extends across our business – from the farmers who grow our ingredients to all workers in our supply chains. We are accelerating action to respect human rights to positively impact all the people we depend on – and who depend on us.

Our business is inherently dependent on the Earth. We know that a healthy planet is critical for our company to continue making food the world loves, yet the negative impacts of climate change are widespread and severe. We recognize that we must regenerate the world’s resources, strengthen ecosystems, and build community resilience.”

General Motors General: “Our vision is of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

We aspire to be the world’s most inclusive company and to conduct ourselves with fairness and transparency. These are the values and behaviors by which we measure ourselves.”

GM CEO, Mary Barra: “When General Motors began the journey to an electric and autonomous future, our mission was to help create a better and safer future for all, guided by our vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

We remain committed to eliminating tailpipe emissions from new U.S. light-duty vehicles by 2035. Last year, we went even further, securing enough renewable energy to power our U.S. facilities by 2025—25 years earlier than we originally shared. It’s a huge step toward making our business carbon neutral by 2040.”

Honeywell CEO, Darius Adamczykl: “Honeywell has a century-long track record of innovating to make the world a better place. Today, making the world a better place means solving the world’s most daunting Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) challenges and Honeywell will continue to face them head-on as we have for the past 100+ years.”

Intel CEO, Pat Gelsinger: “We remain committed to the highest ethical standards and use our resources and ingenuity to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Our dedication to environmental, social and corporate governance is key to our success as a business.”

Intel CEO, Pat Gelsinger: “2022 was a challenging year for Intel. We continue to operate in a tough market, while simultaneously pursuing our multiyear transformation. To overcome these challenges, we remain committed to the highest ethical standards and use our resources and ingenuity to solve the world’s greatest challenges. Our dedication to environmental, social, and corporate governance is key to our success as a business.

We’re committed to deepening our collaborations to build on our current successes. Together, we can further drive tech as a force for good—ensuring the scale of our work with others to create a more responsible, inclusive, and sustainable world, enabled through technology and the expertise and passion of our employees.

We are all part of a globally interconnected evolution. As we continue to transform human progress, we must continue to create world-changing technology that improves the life of every person on the planet. Intel remains fully commit- ted to executing our strategy to deliver leadership products anchored on open and secure platforms, powered by at- scale manufacturing, and supercharged by our people. Our company and our people will continue to have a profound influence driving business and society forward by creating radical innovation that revolutionizes the way we live.”

JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon: “Shareholder value can be built only if you maintain a healthy and vibrant company, which means doing a good job of taking care of your customers, employees, and communities. Conversely, how can you have a healthy company if you neglect any of these stakeholders? As we have learned over the past few years, there are myriad ways an institution can demonstrate its compassion for its employees and its communities while still upholding shareholder value.”

JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon: “This year’s ESG Report explains how we leverage our business and expertise to help address economic and societal challenges, primarily by supporting our clients and providing targeted capital to contribute to an inclusive, sustainable economy. We pursue these initiatives because we truly believe it is right for our customer and communities, not to chase the latest fads or trends.

In a time of ongoing war, global sanctions and economic uncertainty we strive to help support energy security around the globe, while also accelerating the development and transition to affordable, reliable and lower-carbon energy solutions. We recognize the significant economic and societal opportunities associated with a successful transition to a low-carbon economy.

Our business is stronger when our economy is more inclusive. We are striving to advance economic inclusion around the world, including our efforts to help close the racial wealth gap among Black, Hispanic and Latino communities in the U.S. through the Firm’s $30 billion Racial Equity Commitment. Our commitment to advancing racial equity in the

U.S. is a long term journey for the Firm, and we are already thinking of what comes after the five-year mark. Our people drive our success, and it is through their ingenuity, excellence and integrity that we seek to build a prosperous business.”

Kimberly-Clark CEO, Mike Hsu: “Our purpose brings together our heritage of innovation and our commitment to providing care with our intention to be even better in the areas that deliver value to our stakeholders: providing better products, contributing to a better planet, creating a better workplace, and fostering a better society.

For Kimberly-Clark, providing better products means driving innovation that helps deliver enhanced consumer benefits while striving to both use less material and increase our use of sustainable materials.

We are actively working to do our part to help limit the rise of global temperatures and help restore the planet’s natural ecosystems.

We are building a purpose-led, performance driven culture underpinned by our values and commitment to inclusion, equity, diversity, wellbeing, and human rights.”

Kroger CEO, Rodney McMullen: “Introduced in 2021, Kroger’s ESG strategy, Thriving Together, is our roadmap for driving positive changes for people, our planet, and natural systems by 2030 and beyond. Leaders are focused on integrating this strategy across our business to accelerate progress toward long-term commitments. For example, retail leaders continue to operationalize Zero Hunger | Zero Waste performance objectives into company-, division- and store-level plans and training… We see incredible opportunities to reach more customers through our seamless ecosystem and expanding Delivery platform. Our shared-value strategy will bring affordable fresh, planet-forward options to even more homes, giving customers easy ways to live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle—no matter where they live…We recognize our dual responsibilities when managing climate impact: reducing the adverse impacts of our operations on a changing climate and mitigating the potential impacts of a changing climate on our business. Kroger’s current target is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2030, from a 2018 baseline. In 2022, we committed to strengthen our Scope 1 and 2 target and set a new Scope 3 target for supply chain emissions reduction with the Science Based Targets initiative.”

McDonald’s CEO, Chris Kempczinski: “As communities around the world experience the impacts of climate change, we believe we need to be part of the solution. That’s why, in 2021, we set an ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. We’re prioritizing action on the largest elements of our carbon footprint – from restaurant energy use to packaging and waste, and the sourcing of key ingredients for our menu… Meaningful change also requires us to find alternative and sustainable solutions to help protect the world’s natural resources and the communities that rely on them. This is the future of our business. We are committed to partnering with our suppliers around the world to scale innovative practices, from responsible sourcing and regenerative agriculture to widespread reuse and recycling pro- grams… The actions we continue to take today across people, communities and our planet will ensure we’re building a better business and a more trusted brand for generations to come.”

Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg: “The possibilities our technology will unlock for people only matter if we have a safe and thriving planet.”

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella: “Our actions must be aligned with addressing the world’s problems, not creating new ones. At our core, we need to deliver innovation that helps drive broad economic growth.

As a company, we will do well when the world around us does well. That’s why we remain steadfast in our commitments to:

• Support inclusive economic growth

• Protect fundamental rights

• Create a sustainable future

• Earn trust

As we look back on our progress this year, we should all be proud. But it’s easy to talk about what we’re doing well. As we look ahead, we’ll continue to reflect on where the world needs us to do better.”

Microsoft Chief Sustainability Officer, Melanie Nakagawa and President, Brad Smith: “Meaningful climate action requires an enduring commitment from both government and business, with the private sector playing an increasingly important role in the transition from pledges to progress. As we reflect on the seriousness of the climate crisis, we have expanded our ambition to meet this urgent climate need by investing in a broad range of initiatives, technologies and approaches that support a net zero future.

In 2020, we made a bold set of commitments: to be a carbon negative, water positive, zero waste company that protects ecosystems—all by 2030. Three years into this journey, we remain steadfast in our commitment. 2022 was a reminder that to mitigate the most severe impacts of climate change, our commitments need to extend beyond our four walls, and we must continue to accelerate investments that will enable progress for decades to come.

We believe that Microsoft has an important role to play in developing and advancing new climate solutions, but also recognize that the climate crisis can’t be solved by any single company, organization, or government. The global community needs partnerships, new innovations, policies, and global commitment to ensure a healthy future for all.

Microsoft is deeply committed to using our voice to influence sustainability policies around the world. We support public policy initiatives to accelerate carbon reporting, reduction and removal, the transition to clean energy, water access and stress reduction, and the ability to measure, manage, and protect ecosystems. In 2022, we further com- mitted to shaping public policy by releasing policy briefs on carbon and electricity.

To move from pledges to progress, we cannot be deterred by near-term challenges, and must remain focused on developing innovative new solutions and in many cases, accelerating our actions. At Microsoft, we’re deeply committed to sustainability as a company, as a technology provider, and as citizens of planet Earth.”

Novartis CEO, Visant Narasimhan: “In the end, I think for all of us, we have to be super clear on the purpose and mission of our individual enterprises. Be super clear that when we deliver that purpose and mission, we actually do the biggest thing for ESG, forgetting all of the ESG rating stuff. Doesn’t matter, right? If we actually deliver on our missions in a sustainable way, that’s supposed to be why our corporations exist.”

P&G CEO, Jon R. Moeller: “We have been talking about the importance of balance for some time in the context of needing to deliver balanced growth and value creation. While that will always be an imperative, the world needs more from P&G now. It is not just top- and bottom-line growth that must be delivered and balanced. We must also endeavor to deliver against the needs of an increasing number of constituents — consumers, retail customers, employees, society and our shareowners. The needs of each of these constituents must be met.

People increasingly rely on us to deliver superior solutions that are sustainable. Our world requires that we do our part in this regard. This challenge is also an opportunity to extend our margin of superiority, further grow categories, and create more value. We are working across climate, waste, water and nature to improve our own environmental impact, enable consumers to reduce their footprint, and help society solve some of the most pressing global challenges.

We are committed to an equal, diverse and inclusive organization and culture; one which brings forth the best ideas and innovations needed to win with consumers and customers and for each other. We do this best when we have a pipeline of outstanding and diverse talent at every level and an environment that supports each of us in being our full and authentic selves. Externally, we support equality and inclusion efforts with our business partners and in our

communities because it is not only the right thing to do, but because it also can improve income and wealth equity for more people, creating more purchasing power, which drives market growth.”

Pepsi CEO, Ramon Laguarta: “When we launched pep+ in 2021, we knew we needed to do two things extremely well. First, we had to execute an end-to-end transformation of our business, with a focus on building a more sustainable future for people, the planet and our business. This meant rethinking the way we grow our ingredients, how we make, move and sell our iconic portfolio of products, and what choices to offer consumers.

Second, we had to perform whilst we transform. This meant having to grow and deliver value, even as we also reduce our use of natural resources.

A year and a half into this journey, we have put pep+ at the center of virtually everything we do. This focus has driven us to prioritize decisions around regenerative agriculture, reduce added sugars, increase recycled content in our packaging, create circular water systems, advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) and invest in our communities.

I am pleased to report that in 2022 we delivered our best business performance in a decade, whilst continuing to transform the company.”

Pepsi CFO, Hugh Johnston: “The strategic investments we’re making in pep+ will fuel our business to thrive in the long term and will help us build resilience across our global supply chain, while driving positive action for the planet and people.”

Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla: “Pfizer’s vision is to be a best-in-class organization built on a strong foundation of ESG principles.”

Southern Company President, James Y. Kerr II: “In 2022, we expanded our environmental leadership and drove change to reduce our environmental footprint. We also continued to build on decades of efforts to modernize our infrastructure and deploy new technologies that enable us to better detect and repair methane leaks. We pursued renewable gas opportunities and conducted industry-leading research and development projects that empower our consumers to think and act more sustainably. Our commitment to sustainability extends to our communities as we implement initiatives to fuel an equitable future and advance environmental stewardship through our corporate responsibility programs and employee volunteer efforts.

At Southern Company Gas, we set high expectations for ourselves and are taking concrete steps to achieve our goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in our operations by 2050, in full support of Southern Company’s net-zero goal.”

UPS CEO, Carol B. Tomé: “ESG makes good business sense. We’ve seen how climate change and other socioeconomic challenges intersect, which is why we’re leading global conversations and delivering innovative solutions that will create a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive world.”

Verizon CEO, Hans Vestberg: “Critical to these efforts is prioritizing the ESG issues and impacts that matter most to our stakeholders and driving consideration of these issues into the DNA of our company. At Verizon, ESG is integrated into the core of our business and everything we do. Citizen Verizon, our responsible business plan, keeps us laser-focused on areas where we can have the greatest impact and demonstrate responsible business practices.”

Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon: “At Walmart, we’re doing more than simply managing risks in these areas. Managing risk isn’t enough. We have to think differently, and we have to do more. We have adopted a mindset that prioritizes outcomes for business and society — and a regenerative ambition. I’m proud of the ways our team is bringing these principles to life across our business.”

Wells Fargo CEO, Charles W. Scharf: “In the pages that follow, you’ll find an overview of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) work underway at Wells Fargo. This includes the work we are doing to build a sustainable, inclusive future in the communities we serve. These efforts span housing affordability, small business growth, financial inclusion, addressing climate change, and other initiatives. We consider this work a sustained, long-term commitment. We know that there is much work to do, and Wells Fargo is well-positioned to make a difference.”

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