State anti-ESG efforts stall as reports say they cost taxpayers money

By Avery Ellfeldt | 06/18/2024 06:29 AM EDT

A new report finds a “significant decline” in new laws barring public investments that follow ESG principles. It’s “incredibly costly,” says an analyst.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed legislation this year restricting ESG investing.

Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little signed a law this year restricting public funds from using ESG principles to guide investments. AP/Kyle Green

A multiyear campaign by Republican lawmakers to prevent public pension funds and municipal governments from considering climate change in their investments is losing momentum as reports show the restrictions are costing taxpayers money.

A new analysis says state lawmakers in 2024 have considered 161 bills and resolutions aimed at stifling ESG investing that considers environmental, social and governance issues in investment decisions. Only six became law.

The number of new laws represents a “significant decline” from last year, when 23 anti-ESG laws were enacted, according to the report released Tuesday morning by Pleiades Strategy, an environmental group. In addition, the 2024 bills were watered-down from the model legislation they were based on.


Pleiades attributed the trends to mounting evidence that legislation banning public pension funds and state and local government entities from incorporating factors such as climate risk into investment strategies can result in higher costs — and lower returns.