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22 Republican AGs Express Antitrust Concerns Over Net Zero Alliance

 |  September 19, 2023

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and twenty-two other Republican state attorneys general voiced concerns that the Net Zero Financial Services Provider Alliance’s commitment to reach global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner could violate state and federal antitrust laws.

In a letter to members of the Alliance, the AGs warned that the commitment could “artificially restrict the supply of goods and services and inhibit innovation,” and pose potential violations of antitrust and consumer protection laws. The AGs also cautioned that the signatories may be misleading consumers about the viability of the “activist climate agenda” and violating expectations of objective and independent financial services.

The Alliance includes accounting’s Big Four — Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG. It’s aim is to align the business practices of it’s members with the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting the global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“Decisions about energy policy should be made by our elected representatives, not by transnational corporate alliances,” said Skrmetti in the letter.

Related: 22 Attorney Generals Issue Antitrust Warning Over ESG Initiatives

The AGs also voiced concerns that the Alliance could wield enough combined market power to potentially pressure other companies to comply with it’s policy preferences. As such, the group of AGs have issued 11 requests of information on communications between Alliance members, as well as the reasons for joining the group and any conversations surrounding interim targets in line with the pledge.

This inquiry follows an investigation by fourteen Republican state attorneys general launched in the fall of last year, looking into the climate pledges made by the banks of the Alliance regarding allegations that credit to oil companies is being blocked.

Governors in 19 states also pledged earlier this year to utilize state pensions to influence financial services providers to limit the use of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing in pension fund investment management.

Source: CFO Dive